Airport Spotlight

We keep you abreast of the latest news of airports in South Carolina.

Five Consecutive Years of Passenger Growth at Columbia Metropolitan Airport 

By Anthony Gilmer

The Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) recently celebrated five consecutive years of passenger growth. Final statistics for 2016 indicate that the airport’s total number of enplanements for the year came in at 559,523. This translates to a 2.40% increase over 2015.  The total traffic count for the year was finalized at 1,132,329 people, an overall increase of 2.77%. In addition to growth in passenger numbers, the airport also saw a 6% increase in cargo numbers, with a total of 132,430,000 tons of cargo handled in 2016.

Georgetown County Airport Works to Create Strategic Plan

By Ray Funnye

Local officials and community leaders have come together to develop a strategic plan for the Georgetown County Airport. Those involved included Georgetown County and City Officials, Economic Development, the Chamber of Commerce, and other local business and aviation leaders, including James Stephens, the Executive Director of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission.

The group first met in January to map out a vision for the airport’s future. Goals identified include creating a business plan to increase revenues, reduce or eliminate waste, secure capital funding, 

improve infrastructure, attract new business, and create more jobs. By facilitating free and open discussion, these meetings will allow those involved to develop a plan for making these goals a reality.

Sumter County Airport: On Eagles’ Wings 

By Joe Perry, Sumter County Government Communications Director 

Jeff Knauer always wanted to fly.

“Same story,” said Jeremy Bauer.

As the co-owners of On Eagle’s Wings, the fixed base 

operator at Sumter County Airport, there’s more than six decades of flying experience between the two men. 

Knauer, 50, said he wanted to fly since he was born.

“It’s an itch you’ve got to scratch, but when you scratch it, it never gets better,” the 64-year-old Bauer said with a laugh.

On Eagle’s Wings became the FBO at Sumter County Airport on June 1, 1998, providing comfortable facilities along with jet fuel, avgas and self-serve avgas services with a main runway length of 5,500 feet. Flight instruction services are available and aircraft charters are also an option. Both men see a bright future on the horizon for the airport in a county of 108,000 residents in the state’s Midlands region. Ongoing landscaping work and the addition of palm trees is brightening the surroundings, while the next big project will brighten the airfield.

“We’re re-doing all the airfield lighting,” Knauer said, which is slated to get underway this summer and will include new LED lights installed on the taxi lane as well. “The next big project after that is runway extension.”

They would like to get it to 6,000 feet to accommodate more types of aircraft, but they are still in the justification phase. Ramp areas 

surrounding a new 15,000-square-foot hangar will also be bolstered with a renovation designed to support larger planes.

Part of the aim to add another 500 feet of runway is tied to the growth of business aviation, as the recreational aspect seems to be diminishing. Both men, in fact, stay pretty busy taking turns piloting a Beech Premier up and down the coast for a local company. Bauer, with 35 years of flying experience, is qualified to pilot various types of single and multi-engine aircraft, and said he’s “never met an airplane I didn’t like.”

Pretty much the same goes for Knauer.

“Every airplane I’ve ever gotten into I’ve thought is the greatest thing I’ve ever flown,” he said.

For more information about On Eagle’s Wings, call (803) 469-4639 or visit the online website at

Ridgeland Claude Dean Airport Expansion

By Andrew Fulghum

Three separate projects totaling $13 million are in progress to expand and upgrade the Ridgeland-Claude Dean Airport in Jasper County, thanks to allocated federal, state and local funding.  

Phase 1 addresses clearing and grubbing, mass earthwork, and drainage infrastructure to serve the new runway complex. Phase 1 construction began on October 31, 2016, is currently 40% complete, and scheduled for completion in July 2017.  

The Holt Team is currently completing the design on Phase 2 construction plans, which will bid in the summer 2017.  Phase 2 construction will consist of a 3200’ interim Runway 18-36 and Taxiway System. Phase 2 construction will begin immediately after Phase 1 ends this summer and will take five months. The interim Runway 18-36 should open to visual operations in early 2018 and will permanently close existing Runway 3-21 once Runway 18-36 is opened.  

Phase 3 will complete the 4200’ Runway 18-36 and Taxiway 

System. Phase 3 completion 3 is anticipated in the summer of 2018. The FAA will be working on GPS approaches for the new runway and these new approaches will be commissioned in late 2018/early 2019. 

Future funding will construct:

New General Aviation Terminal Building

Terminal Parking Apron

Access Road and Vehicle Parking 

Aircraft Fueling Facilities

New Hangars at Rock Hill-York County Airport 

By Steven Gould Jr., C.M. 

After many years with a large waiting list for hangar space at the Rock Hill – York County Airport, new hangars are now available for pre-purchase. Construction is set to begin this spring. 

The hangars, a combination of T-Hangars and Box Hangars, will range in size from 1,050 square foot up to 2,500+ square foot. Pricing begins at $44,900. 

For more information, contact Freedom Development Corporation at (704) 996-4257.

$7.9 Million Taxiway Project Complete,\ Runway Expansion 

Begins at Hilton Head Island Airport 

By Jon Rembold

Beaufort County has completed the $7.9 million Taxiway A project at the Hilton Head Island Airport – the first of several key

projects included in the airport’s master plan to increase airport safety and marketability. 

Implemented in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission (SCAC), the taxiway project included relocating the 4,300-foot-long taxiway, tree removal and drainage components. 

“Our first priority is safety,” said Beaufort County Airports Director Jon Rembold. “One of our goals is to offer more airline choices, but a plan this large in scope begins with ensuring that we are operating at optimum conditions with the safest foundation 

possible. Our work with the FAA allows us to do just that.” Taxiway A was relocated 100 feet to the east of the previous location. The project also included revising the general aviation parking area. 

“It was the airport’s original taxiway. It complied with old standards, but did not meet new FAA standards for airport design.” 

The taxiway project was the first of a series of projects planned for the Hilton Head Island Airport funded through a $13 million grant received from the FAA. 

Just days after the taxiway project was complete, the airport launched a project to expand its runway, issuing a “notice to proceed” to its contractor to begin the first phase. The runway expansion project, funded primarily by an $18.9 million grant from the FAA, will extend the runway from 4,300 to 5,000 feet. 

“We’re presently a single airline airport,” said Rembold. “The runway expansion will 

allow us to accommodate more modern planes, which we anticipate will attract more airlines. More airlines will give our locals and visitors more choices and better prices.” 

All safety compliance projects at the airport are funded 90 percent through the FAA, five percent through the SCAC, and five percent through the airport. 

“Our partnerships couldn’t be better. Our partners believe in these projects and we have a shared vision.” said Rembold. “I’m pleased with the teamwork that has gelled to make the projects happen. Just knowing about the potential is energizing to me. Allowing your mind to see the potential – to see the future of our airport – is 

exhilarating.”  The first phase and north end of the runway is expected to be complete by Fall of 2017 with the full runway finalized by mid-2018. 

Laurens County Airport 

Rehabilitates Taxiways 

By Sammy Wham

On March 1, the Laurens County Airport broke ground on a 

project to rehabilitate its taxiways.  The project consists of a concrete overlay of Taxiway B, reconstruction of a taxi lane and asphalt pavement rejuvenation of its newer Taxiway A.

McCarthy Improvement Company is the general contractor for the concrete portion of the project. The asphalt rejuvenation will be completed by the SCAC approved contractor. This project is the second phase of pavement rehabilitation projects at LUX, after the first phase of concrete overlay, runway extension and ramp reconstruction was completed in 2012.


Airport Offers Reduced Labor Rate 

By Justin Julian

The Anderson Regional Aircraft Maintenance Shop is offering a reduced labor rate for new and longstanding guests, available for a limited time.

Based at the Anderson Regional Airport, the shop is an authorized Cessna Service Center and certified FAA Part 145 Repair Station. An Avionics Shop is also expected to open in the near future. 

The shop hopes this discount promotion conveys its appreciation to all customers, long term and new. 

Questions? Contact Maintenance Supervisor Chris Maxwell at (864) 332-5303.