Airport panel mulls growth options

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Queen City Airport in Allentown wants to become more business-friendly and profitable.

In their last official meeting before making their final recommendations to the board that governs the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (LNAA), members of the Queen City Airport-Ad Hoc Committee discussed both long- and short-term solutions for achieving these goals.

A few of the ideas the committee will recommend to the authority:

? Showing greater support for charter and general aviation tenants

? Changing the name of Queen City Airport

? Creating a more welcoming environment for business travelers

? Offering better access to fuel

? Promoting the airport as an event space

LNAA also owns and oversees Lehigh Valley International Airport and Braden Airpark.

“Some of (the ideas) are very doable; some of these may not be, but it doesn’t mean we can’t put them on the list,” said Cindy McDonnell Feinberg, LNAA board member and head of the committee.

The committee also talked about networking with the Aviation Council of Pennsylvania on Valley events and possibly creating an electronic newsletter that would showcase events at the airport.

Offering more effective ways for pilots to communicate would make the airport more appealing to business travelers, according to committee members.

Charles Everett, executive director of LNAA, said the authority has $300,000 in the budget – money that could potentially be used to host air shows, including one at LVIA during the summer.

The shows would attract attention to LVIA but could also be used to promote Queen City Airport.

“Commercial airline activity could be incorporated into the show,” said Everett.

Also, the authority could place a link on the LVIA web page that could show viewers the identity of the flying clubs and charter businesses that use Queen City, said Everett.

Though no new names were discussed, the committee talked about possibly changing the name of Queen City Airport and updating signage so the airport’s location is more visible.

Members talked about the importance of establishing a strategic plan to market the airport, improving customer service, updating the business terminal and waiting area, and increasing the use of shuttle cars.

“Enterprise is across the street, almost literally from Queen City,” said McDonnell Feinberg, referring to the national car rental business.

“We are looking at partnerships with them and maybe also working with the car dealerships.”

Another option discussed involved adding a restaurant where diners could watch the planes arrive and depart.

The construction of hangars at Queen City is also essential for building activity at the airport, according to committee members. Construction is set for March 1.

An above-ground fuel farm is also in the works and could possibly be built by 2015.

Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it. Brian also has a strong interest in health and fitness. He works part-time as a personal trainer at Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem and earned his personal fitness trainer certification from World Instructor Training Schools. He loves to run and will be competing in his first half-marathon on Nov. 23 to raise funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

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