NEWPORT - Improved local transportation is needed for all of the development, expansion, and changes planned for the Newport and Jay Peak Resort. Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain resorts, have proposed those changes.
Partners Stenger and Quiros have acquired the airport's Fixed Based Operator (FBO) at the Newport State Airport and, through the EB-5 Foreign Investor Program, plan to invest $20-million in airport improvements.
A Fixed Base Operator is a commercial business with the right to operate at the airport and provide services such as fueling, parking, airplane maintenance, etc.
â€śWith the recreational, manufacturing and other economic development projects ongoing within the community, the importance of transportation has intensified,â€ť said a Jay Peak Resort spokesperson.
The airport is slated to become a Free Trade Zone, and U.S. Customs will open an office there if needed.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has approved a 1,000-foot runway addition along with a parallel taxiing lane. Construction of the addition is slated to begin after July 2013, when the new fiscal year begins. This additional length added to the runway will allow small jets to land in all weather conditions.
Last week a small jet wanted to land in Newport but was forced to land in Burlington because the runway was wet from rain, explained Dan Gauvin. Gauvin is the owner of Lakeview Aviation at the Newport Airport. Lakeview Aviation rents aircraft, conducts maintenance, and does flight training. Lakeview Aviation will remain at the airport and Gauvin will continue with his work there.
The current terminal is about 30 by 20 feet and was built back in 1947. Plans include building a larger terminal, which will be expanded for pilots and passengers. Hangar space will also be expanded for regional passenger service aircraft.
The development partners are also looking to recruit a private aviation light plane manufacturing and repair facility to set up shop on airport property.
Gauvin said he has heard a company is interested, but does not know any details yet.
Parker Pie is opening a restaurant at the airport sometime this fall, Gauvin said.
All projects should be completed sometime in 2014, according to developers.
Some of the airport expansion plans are part of the half billion dollar â€śeconomic revitalizationâ€ť plan proposed by Stenger and partners, all paid for by the EB-5 Foreign Investor Program.
Foreigners can invest $500,000 in an area with high unemployment to obtain U.S. Green Cards for themselves and immediate family members.
Stenger has used the program for the massive expansion effort at Jay Peak Resort.