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Work scheduled for Yeager Airport will help it meet FAA guidelines

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Work is scheduled to begin next week on a major earth-moving project near Yeager Airport that will put the facility in compliance with newer Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.

The latest construction will involve removing the top of a hill just south of the airport's main runway by over 100 feet in some areas. FAA guidelines require aircraft to ascend a certain amount of feet upon takeoff in case of engine trouble. The hill causes heavy planes to be unable to ascend to the proper height upon takeoff.

The project was discussed at the Yeager Airport board of directors' meeting yesterday.

"We're real excited about kicking this project off," Rick Holes of L. Robert Kimball, an architecture and engineering firm, told the board.

The earth-moving is Phase II of the $15 million height reduction project, $13.2 million of which is construction costs. The first phase of the project was the removal of trees on the hill, which was completed in the last month.

"There are a lot of pieces to that construction," Holes said.

The airport has received three grants for the project, including $7.5 million to help pay for Phase II, $6.9 million for Phase I and $200,000 for planning.

Because the construction project will take place near residents in the Coal Branch Heights neighborhood, airport officials plan to hold a public meeting for residents in the area at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 2. A location has not yet been finalized.

In other business, the airport board:

* Discussed customer service by airlines at the airport, which officials say is improving.

"It appears as though the airlines are doing a better job of getting bags off planes," said Yeager Airport Assistant Director Terry Sayre.

Sayre said there had been issues regarding wait times for baggage collection, particularly when passengers have to pick up bags at a desk after those bags were sent on a different flight.

"Overall, the service is a little bit better," he said.

The airport will continue to work with airlines to improve baggage claim efficiency for passengers, Sayre said.

* Discussed the recent addition of mobile boarding pass readers at the airport by United Airlines. The airport's marketing director, Brian Belcher, said Delta Airlines would likely be the next airline to start providing the service.

Contact writer Matt Murphy at Matt.Murphy@dailymail.com or 304-348-4817.


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