A dramatic transformation has taken place at Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport in North Carolina during the past nine months.
The airport’s terminal has been changed from a building that used to serve commuter airline passengers to a fine business aviation terminal, serving private and corporate business customers.
After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, the airport lost its commuter air service. After years of trying to find a replacement airline, airport management decided to change directions.
“A vision planning study helped us determine our new direction — to be the best general aviation ‘business class’ airport in the state of North Carolina,” says manager Hans Hess.
The terminal now features a lobby that “looks more like the lobby of a fine hotel than an airport,” he says. The pilots’ lounge, with its entertainment center and limited edition aviation art, and a quiet room where pilots can relax or nap, is up to the same standard, he states, as is the new flight planning room.
More ramp space was added in front of the terminal, as well, he pointed out.
Air Care, Inc., the airport’s FBO, now handles its fuel and other services from the terminal. Air Care has been the FBO at the airport since it opened in 1970 and is recognized as one of the best FBOs in the region, according to Hess. Air Care offers flight training, aircraft maintenance, and avionics service, and is both a Cessna dealer and Cessna service center.
“With the many challenges now facing business flyers on the airlines, corporate executives are utilizing corporate aircraft more often,” Hess remarked. “Corporate executives save both time and money by utilizing regional airports. With more and more focus on regional airports in North Carolina and around the nation, the Rocky Mount-Wilson Regional Airport has positioned itself as one of the premier regional airports in Southeast.”
Wes Bailey, chairman of the airport authority during the terminal project, agreed, adding that it was his vision and that of the entire airport authority to create one of the finest airport facilities in the state.
“We certainly believe we accomplished that,” he said. “It took a lot of hard work and forward thinking to accomplish this but, from the positive comments we have received and the visible results, we have proven that our vision for the facility was correct.”
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