Middletown seeks input on plan for airport; goal is to make it an economic asset

A NetJets plane lands at Middletown Regional Airport. Matt Eisenbraun, acting airport manager, said the pilot offered feedback about the airport. The city is hoping to attract "major players" in the aviation industry to Middletown. SUBMITTED PHOTO

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A NetJets plane lands at Middletown Regional Airport. Matt Eisenbraun, acting airport manager, said the pilot offered feedback about the airport. The city is hoping to attract "major players" in the aviation industry to Middletown. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Airport is trying to attract major players in the aviation industry

Matt Eisenbraun. assistant economic development director for the city of Middletown, gets excited when he talks about the future of Middletown Regional Airport.

The last two years, operating without a professional management team, the airport has thrived, said Eisenbraun, who also serves as acting airport manager. He said fuel sales increased 20% in 2020 and 24% in 2021, at a time when other airports struggled during COVID-19. The gallons sold jumped from 159,795 to 196,593 from 2020 to 2021, according to airport documents.

Mike Kormos, senior sales director at Avfuel, the airport’s sole fuel supplier, called the 2021 increase “shockingly good.”

The city is in the process of hiring a fixed base operator and management team to handle day-to-day operations at the airport, he said.

Eisenbraun believes “the sky is the limit” and the airport can become an “economic development asset” for the city.

The airport, due to its size and runway capacities, serves as a “regional reliever” for planes that typically use Dayton International Airport and Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, he said.

Middletown’s airport also can handle planes that are too large for the Butler County Airport and Dayton Wright Brothers Airport in Miami Twp., he said.

The airport is trying to attract “major players” in the aviation industry and representatives from NetJets and Wheels Up have flown into the airport and provided feedback to officials, Eisenbraun said.

The Airport Master Plan calls for a Maintenance Repair Overhaul facility to be built by an aviation company and that facility would attract service providers, additional workforce and income tax for the city, according to Eisenbraun.

The city also is working with Butler Tech to provide workforce development programs that could bring aviation certification opportunities for local students.

On Monday, a public information session will be held to discuss the Airport Master Plan, a continuous and strategic process required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish a framework for the efficient development of airports that is consistent with local, state and national standards and goals.

The foundation of a master plan is the 20-year aviation activity forecast specifically for the airport and approved by the FAA, Eisenbraun said.

The city will gather public comment, assemble the Airport Master Plan and Airport Layout Plan, submit them to the FAA for review and approval, receive FAA comments, and publish the accepted plans.


HOW TO GO

WHAT: Public information session on the Airport Master Plan

WHEN: 4-6 p.m. Monday prior to Airport Commission meeting

WHERE: Council Chambers, lower level of the Middletown City Building

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