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Airport project expected to begin this year

Morgantown Municipal to expand runway

Work on a long-coveted runway extension project aimed at enhancing Morgantown Municipal Airport’s ability to service a corporate-heavy client base is expected to begin this year.

But work is already underway to enhance the airport’s image.

Airport Director Jonathan Vrabel said the airport will be completely rebranded in the coming months, complete with a new name and logo.

 While nothing has been finalized, Vrabel said he’s fond of Morgantown Gateway Airport, which also happens  to align with the airport’s federal identifier, MGW.

“We’ve tossed around a few names, but that one comes to the top every time,” Vrabel said. “It sounds completely different and it projects a different image altogether. So I really like that idea and we’ll have a new logo to go with it as well.”

Vrabel explained that having the word “municipal” in the airport’s name gives the wrong impression.

“We had a company several months back tell us, ‘Well, you’re just a little municipal airport so we didn’t think you needed it right away,’ And I explained, no, we’re not a tiny little airfield where people learn to fly and nothing else. That’s not us. We’re different,” Vrabel said. “But they see the name. We need remove ‘municipal,’ and that’s what we’re doing.”

Work is also taking place on multiple logo options, one of which will replace the image that’s been in place more than three decades.

As of yet there’s no timeline as to when the new name and logo will go live.

There is, however, a projected timeline for the start of the $50 million effort to add 

1,001 feet to the airport’s existing 5,199-foot runway. 

Vrabel said the city will likely start advertising for bidders in early October and expects work to proceed sometime around Thanksgiving.

“That initial work will probably be a lot of land clearing. We’ll be removing some trees, maybe moving a little bit of soil to get things ready,” he said.  

The contractor likely won’t begin moving earth in earnest until next spring. 

The  project, which is planned over the next five years, entails moving some 4.4 million cubic yards of earth to the north end of the runway, essentially building up 20 stories of foundation for the extension.

The dirt will be taken from the future site of a new commerce park, to be located on the other side of the airport’s new T-hangars, east of the runway.

The Morgantown Municipal Airport is among the state’s busiest based on number of flights. It also has the shortest runway of all the state’s commercial carrier airports

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