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Funds to help Roanoke airport add flights

By MELINDA WILLIAMS

melinda@southwesttimes.com

ROANOKE — Federal funds, coupled with matches pledged by the business sector, are helping Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport secure nonstop flights to Dallas, Denver and/or Detroit.

Roanoke Regional Chamber of Commerce announced Tuesday morning the awarding of $750,000 in federal funds to the airport commission from the Small Community Air Service Development Program (SCASDP).

The funds can be used to guarantee revenue for flight providers, to market the new service and for fee waivers.

The measure was a joint effort of Roanoke Regional Airport Commission and Roanoke and Botetourt chambers of commerce. They worked with businesses and other frequent airport users to secure pledges needed to match SCASDP funding. Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine and Rep. Bob Goodlatte assisted in securing the federal dollars.

“We are hopeful that given two and a half years of passenger growth, these funds will help secure additional service to Dallas/Ft. Worth, Denver and/or Detroit. Air service is a critical component for economic development and we feel this is a significant step in the right direction,” said Tim Bradshaw, executive director of the Roanoke Blacksburg Regional Airport.

Roanoke Regional Chamber President and CEO Joyce Waugh said “better connectivity” to Roanoke will open new markets for businesses and investment in the region.

“We are excited to see how this grant will improve service from ROA, and we appreciate the Roanoke Regional Airport Commission’s commitment to supporting our community’s needs and economic growth,” she added.

Kaine, Warner and Goodlatte pointed out the vital role the airport plays in the region’s economic health. “We are proud to announce these grant dollars that will ensure the airport continues to offer flights that attract tourism and business and offer Virginians more travel options,” they said in a joint statement.

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