September 09, 2021

Manchin Resolves Raleigh County Airport Issue, Announces Five Year Extension of Funding For Raleigh County and Mid-Ohio Valley Airports

Charleston, WV – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), a member of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, thanked the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for extending funding under the Alternate Essential Air Service (AEAS) program for the Raleigh County and Mid-Ohio Valley Airports and resolving a dispute over payments provided by the Department in 2019 while Beckley Airport’s runway was under construction.
Since 2018, Raleigh County Memorial Airport in Beckley (BKW) and the Mid-Ohio Valley Regional Airport in Parkersburg (PKB) have participated in the Alternate Essential Air Service (AEAS) program, which helps small communities maintain commercial air service through federal assistance. The two airports formed a partnership with Contour Airlines, which serves both communities to the same hub, Charlotte Douglas International Airport (CLT). Today, Senator Manchin announced an extension of this arrangement totaling $4,962,541 for each of the next five years.
“Over the past few years, I have worked directly with airport officials and DOT to find a solution to a payments issue at Raleigh County Memorial Airport, and I want to thank Secretary Buttigieg for finding a resolution so the airport can continue to provide excellent service to West Virginians,” said Senator Manchin. “Raleigh County Memorial Airport and Mid-Ohio Valley Airport’s partnerships with Contour Airlines provides reliable air service that continues to open up Beckley and Parkersburg and their surrounding regions to more visitors and new economic opportunities. I am thrilled these two airports will continue to receive funding through the Alternate Essential Air Service program for the next five years. As a pilot myself, I am committed to supporting our regional airports and boosting West Virginia’s aerospace industry.”

For several years, Senator Manchin has been working to assist BKW in resolving an issue relating to payments made during a period in which the airport was closed as a result of repairs to the runway. In January 2020, Senator Manchin wrote to the former Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao to urge Secretary Chao to resolve the situation, and he has continued to work with DOT officials over the past year to find a resolution to ensure that the airport was not penalized. The Order approved this week by DOT allows BKW and PKB to keep their service and continue to serve their communities. Senator Manchin continues to advocate for funding and resources to support West Virginia regional airports.