Pitt-Greenville Airport undergoing extensive cleanup after Matthew-related flooding

General aviation service could get underway Wednesday


GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – In this week’s Growing The East, an inside look at the cleanup at Pitt-Greenville Airport.

No flights have taken off or landed at PGV since Sunday, October 9 because of flooding from the Tar River.

Now that the water is receding, the airport’s executive director gave 9 On Your Side a tour of the facility to get a look at what’s being done to get the airport back up and running.

“Almost everything but the terminal building went under water,” said Betty Stansbury, Executive Director, Pitt-Greenville Airport. She took 9 On Your Side down runway at the airport Tuesday for a look at what they are doing to get PGV back to normal.

Even though the water is quickly receding, there’s a lot of work ahead.

“There’s a number of steps that we have to do,” she explained. “We have to clean all the debris of the runways, taxiways and ramps so they don’t damage aircraft. Many of our lights went underwater, so before we can turn the power back on to them we have to dry those out.”

Crews are checking the stability of the pavement to make sure it can support the weight of an aircraft.

It’s the second time in 17 years the airport saw major flooding. And Stansbury said they learned a lot from what they experienced during Hurricane Floyd.

“We were able to get all of the aircraft with one exception, every aircraft that was able to fly off the field,” said Stansbury. “We had enough advance warning so we didn’t have the kind of damage that we had last time. Also the levels of the water didn’t get quite as high as Floyd. The terminal building flooded during Floyd. In this case, the terminal got within about six inches of the water.”

It was a different story in the parking lot. Many passenger’s cars were left with water damage.

PGV is not only looking ahead to re-opening the airport, but to what can be done in the future to lessen the impact of a major flood.

“We’re going to be having those discussions here with the Federal Aviation Administration, with the state aviation agency, to see if there’s anything we can do to limit the amount of damage the next time the Tar floods,” she added. “So we’ve got to find a way to manage the risk associated with being next to a river that floods.”

The airport will reopen Wednesday at 8:00am for general aviation flights. Airline flights are expected to resume Friday morning.

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