July 2018

306 307 SPARTANBURG DOWNTOWN MEMORIAL AIRPORT needed to be done.” Connorton describes the Airport as “pretty busy,” with about 90 operations a day, but he’d like to see activity pick up. “In fact, when the runway’s completed, we do hope and plan on a lot more traffic coming here because of that, and we plan to do more development to make sure their services are there,” he avers. “In terms of vacancies, all of our han- gars are full.We have about a 40-person waiting list. So we are in the throes of looking at leasing out some of our prop- erty to private investors. If they want to go ahead and lease out the property for 25 years, they can build the hangar of their choice on that property. After 25 lot of general aviation. In the neighborhood, we have Shelby and Anderson and two other airports that compete with us, because of our size, as far as fuel prices. But it’s a very friendly competition, as far as that’s concerned.” Connorton assumed his current post last December, following the previous Director’s retirement. He said the City supplies all of the airport’s vendors and employees, which includes himself. “The FBO is part of the city as well, so I run both organizations,” he added. “I run the airport as Director and I manage the FBO, as well.” Fees, rents and fuel sales are Spartanburg Downtown Memorial’s financial lifeblood and, with the exception of a small printing business, aviation is the focal point of all its tenants. The terminal received a much needed ren- ovation in 2010 and the Airport is now in the midst of extending its runway, thanks to a $30 million Federal Aviation Administration grant. The project includes resurfacing the existing runway and an upgrade for the Airport’s nav- igational and lighting systems. FAA financing covers 90 percent of the project costs, with the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, and the city, each chipping in five percent. “We’re going to be growing our runway from its existing 5,000 feet to 6,000 feet,” reports Connorton. “We’re about two-thirds of the way through that project and we’re planning to have it done by the end of the year. The run- way hasn’t had any maintenance done on it in many, many years. The last time anything was done was back in the ‘80s, so it certainly