The Laurinburg-Maxton Airport threw itself a party this past weekend to celebrate the completion of a runway refurbishing project.
The open house was attended Saturday by local, state and federal officials, including Congressman Larry Kissell.
The airport’s main runway, Runway 5-23, was improved to allow for larger aircraft to land at the airport.
Kissell said he has been a strong advocate for funding to repair and improve the runway, including submitting an appropriations request to fund the project and calling on then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates to advocate for military funding.
Recently, Kissell met with commanders from Pope Field to discuss military efforts there, as well as the expansion of efforts once the runway was improved.
“The completion of the main runway here is a wonderful opportunity for all involved: the airport, our community and our military,” said Kissell. “Local businesses and the men and women of our armed forces have helped serve as the backbone of our economy, and these improvements will only increase the potential for further success for all involved. With the improvements made, as well as additional ongoing and upcoming projects to expand services here at Laurinburg-Maxton, we can help lead the way in making this airport even more of an economic engine for Scotland and Robeson counties and the entire region.”
The project, completed in late 2011, will allow the runway to now support a landing weight capacity of 256,000 pounds per tandem axle, more than the 60,000 pounds it was previously able to allow.
“It was ranked the third worst runway of any general aviation airport in the state,” said Jo Ann Gentry, the airport’s executive director. “Pilots didn’t want to land there because of the cracking and breaking of the concrete.”
During the event, officials from the airport showcased upcoming projects, including a taxiway design, hangar design and an airport layout plan update.
Following the ribbon cutting, members of the Golden Knights Parachute Team conducted a demonstration for those gathered at the event, conducting a jump and landing at the airport.
“What better way to mark the opening of this completed project than by having our brave Golden Knights drop in on us,” added Kissell. “As a member of the House Armed Service Committee, I’ll continue to work to further develop the important relationship between our military and the Laurinburg-Maxton Airport.”