With about 60,000 annual takeoffs and landings, Allegheny County Airport in West Mifflin is but a fraction of the size of Pittsburgh International and sees less than half the total operations each year.
And yet the 430-acre general aviation facility, which opened in 1931 with its historic terminal building, is a mainstay for some of the region’s largest corporations, universities, medical centers, flight and aviation maintenance schools. They use the facility to charter aircraft, learn and train students, and ship and receive supplies and products.
That’s why a recent $223,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is critical to maintaining the facility.
Allegheny County is one of 26 smaller airports across the state that recently received a share of more than $6 million in state funds to make infrastructure and equipment upgrades to maintain safety and expand aviation-related opportunities.
Allegheny County Airport serves as the primary FAA designated reliever airport for Pittsburgh International Airport, and supports a high volume of business and corporate-related traffic.
“This support from my administration helps keep aviation a viable transportation alternative and adds to our economy as well,” Gov. Tom Wolf said in a news release. “These airports support hundreds of thousands of jobs and offer services that are attractive to the business community and others interested in general aviation.”
The money will pay for about 75 percent of the total cost of a wheel loader, mower with cab and pickup truck with a snowplow to help maintain the airfield, replacing equipment which is no longer reliable due to age and use. The Allegheny County Airport Authority, which runs both AGC and PIT, will cover the remainder of the cost.
“This equipment will not only provide added safety precautions for our crew but enhances efficiency to our tenants, showing them that we are a leading general aviation airport,” said Dan Secrist, operations supervisor at AGC.
Authority Chief Financial Officer Dale Cottrill said the grant helps the airport maintain positive financial performance while continuing to make important capital improvements.
“We are working to transform AGC into a leading general aviation airport and solidify it as a premier aviation destination and an invaluable asset to the local community,” Cottrill said.