It’s already the busiest general aviation airport in Maryland, but the addition of a control tower promises to make Frederick Municipal Airport even more appealing to businesses, officials said at a groundbreaking ceremony Oct. 18.
Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Benjamin Cardin joined FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Huerta, Frederick Mayor Randy McClement, state and local officials, AOPA employees, and representatives of local business at the airport to break ground for the $5.3 million project, to be paid for by a grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. When the MetLife blimp took off and made its exit directly over the crowd, it testified to the diversity of operations at Frederick, AOPA’s home airport. Over the course of the half-hour ceremony, visitors saw operations by piston singles, a business jet, piston and turbine helicopters, and the blimp.
“The sound of the engines or the sound of the rotaries is the sound of jobs, jobs, jobs,” Mikulski said. The airport is home to AOPA, two flight schools (fixed wing and rotorcraft), an FBO that caters to business aircraft, glider operations, and the Frederick Section of the Maryland State Police Aviation Command.
“There’s a lot of good businesses that are here and a lot more that are coming,” Cardin said. Not only will the 18-month construction project employ workers, he said, but the tower will appeal to companies looking to locate near an airport.
That interest is more than theoretical, as McClement explained. He said he was speaking with a corporate official recently who was evaluating whether to locate in Frederick, and the airport is an important factor in that decision. McClement said the tower will help the airport serve a variety of users and retain and attract corporate partners. “This is about the momentum that is moving our city forward,” he said.
About 200 aircraft are based at Frederick, Maryland’s second largest airport after Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall. The airport handles more than 130,000 operations a year, and officials expect that number to rise. Huerta said that in addition to the 105-foot tower, the Recovery Act money will pay for an access road and an instrument landing system.
“These Recovery Act dollars will improve the safety and efficiency of Frederick’s airport while providing a boost to Maryland’s economy,” he said.