Commissioners set to review land purchase for OAJ airport expansion

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – Hundreds traveling for the holidays will do so from Albert J Ellis Airport in Onslow County.

350,000 people walk through the terminals every year. It generates $237-million for the county.

In order to accommodate the passengers, the airport needs to expand.

The airport is fulfilling a redevelopment plan seven years in the making. It includes permanent rental car spaces and longer runways for bigger planes.

“We are doing a lot of things with the facilities in order to modernize them and accommodate that growth,” said Chris White, Director, OAJ.

However, in order to do so, the airport needs to buy an additional 99 acres. The land is currently used for farming.

If approved, the terminal will add, “A control tower and then also, through a public-private partnership, one of our tenants is building a hangar,” said White.

Both the hangar and control tower will go behind the main terminal. No local tax dollars will be used in the land purchase.

Many of its passengers are Marines who said they’re pleased with the forward thinking.

“As a passenger, it really makes other people want to continue to use the airport because they see the improvements being made and progress,” commented PFC. Blake Thomas, passenger. “And that’s what people are all about, especially here in the city of Jacksonville, is progress.”

Improvements to passenger terminal access and stronger aircraft aprons have already been made.

This summer, Delta Airlines established a main line at the terminal.

The board of commissioners is set to review the land purchase Monday night. We’ll have the latest developments as they become available.

No local tax dollars will be used to purchase the $600,000 tract of land. The land is currently used for farming. No homes will be impacted by the purchase.

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