Airport's fate uncertain as auction nears

September 26, 2013

A private airport in northeastern Maryland that has served the public since 1979 is headed for auction, with tenants, local pilots, and state officials hoping for an outcome that keeps aviation in the property’s future.

On Oct. 18, an auction company will open bids on the Cecil County Airport in Elkton, just north of the headwaters of  the Chesapeake Bay. The 129-acre property on offer in the bank-ordered sale also features a three-bedroom home built in 2006 that includes in-laws’ quarters and a two-car garage.

The airport’s facilities include a 2,989-foot paved runway, hangars, three 10,000-gallon fuel tanks, and a 3,675-square-foot terminal building. 

Once known as Raintree Airport, the private strip—located just southwest of the Philadelphia Class B airspace 30-nautaical-mile mode C veil—became a public-use facility in 1979. The name was changed in 1997 when a nearby county airport closed. The runway was paved in 1999, said William Krozack, airport licensing officer for the Maryland Office of Regional Aviation Assistance, which is a creditor in the bankruptcy proceedings.

According to FAA data for 2013, there were 54 aircraft based at the airport including nine multiengine aircraft.  Two RNAV (GPS) approaches serve the airport, although displaced thresholds on runways 13 and 31 reduce runway available for landing.

Bidders were instructed to be ready with a certified or cashier’s check for $100,000 at the time of sale.

"The successful bidder shall be obligated to increase the deposit to 10 percent of the purchase price within three business days of the date of the sale," said the auction house, adding that the property will be sold "as-is."

After liquidation proceedings began, several pilots hoping for "the best possible outcome" have expressed interest in acquiring and maintaining the airport, but the outcome remains uncertain, said John Collins, AOPA manager of airport policy.

For now the airport remains open to flight operations, said Krozack.