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South Middleton Township – On September 30, 2021, the South Middleton Township Board of Supervisors announced the Township’s official acquisition of the previously privately-owned Business Airport of Carlisle located at 228 Petersburg Road. The transfer in ownership occurred as the culmination of a multi-year effort to secure grant funding for the acquisition, as well as an extensive due diligence period to evaluate the feasibility of public ownership.
Bryan Gembusia, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors stated, “I’m thankful for the support we have had in pursuing acquisition of the Airport. The Airport serves as an important resource for our region and community, and we are excited to take ownership to ensure its continued operation. It’s been a real team effort to make this day a reality.”
The acquisition of the Airport was facilitated in part by a $3 million grant from the PennDOT Bureau of Aviation. Township officials have been in discussion with the airport’s private owners and state agencies about acquiring the facility for several years. Acquisition of the Carlisle Airport by a public entity will allow for additional public sector investments that will facilitate deferred improvements and a substantial expansion of airport operations and services. The importance of public ownership of the Airport was first outlined by the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corporation in its 2019 Airport Feasibility Study. The Township’s due diligence process built upon the findings of the feasibility study, with additional funding for planning assistance provided by Cumberland County.
“We are grateful to the Wolf Administration; our state legislators, Senator Regan and Representative Ecker; our Commissioners; and the PennDOT Bureau of Aviation for supporting this important endeavor. The Township is planning significant improvements in order to enhance this unique transportation asset in Cumberland County.”, stated Bryan Salzmann the Township solicitor.
As part of the acquisition process, the Township has diligently laid out a planned capital improvements strategy to further enhance the facilities and services at the Airport. Planned capital improvements projects include construction of additional hangars and an efficient terminal building, and the addition of a parallel runway. Day to day operations at the Airport will continue to be overseen by the current operations manager, with support from Township staff, to ensure seamless continuity of service.
Township Manager Cory Adams stated, “We look forward to advancing the planned improvements ahead and hope that our strategic partners will continue to support and assist us to make the Airport a first rate public airport. We have come far but there is still a lot of good work ahead of us.”
Under new ownership, the Airport will continue to contribute positively to the local and regional economy. In 2019, the PennDOT Bureau of Aviation (BOA) completed an interim update to the Economic Impact of Aviation in Pennsylvania, originally published in 2011. Based on data collected, the BOA estimated that the Carlisle Airport has an annual estimated economic impact of $8 million to the community. That figure includes spending by those flying in and out of the airport, employee wages and employee spending. The undeveloped land adjacent to the airport provides future opportunities for economic development to complement the Carlisle Airport’s expansion and redevelopment.