Airport's executive director to depart later this month
By Tyler Stocks
The Daily Reflector
Friday, January 11, 2019
The Pitt-Greenville Airport Authority announced this week that its director has taken a job in Oregon and that it has begun recruiting for a replacement.
Betty Stansbury, who took over at PGV in July 2016, is leaving to take a position as the director for The Oregon Department of Aviation. Oregon is Stansbury’s home state.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Greenville,” Stansbury said Thursday. “Everyone in the community has been so welcoming and supportive. I got to try some really interesting foods that I never tried before, and I think we’ve accomplished a lot in the two and a half years, (although) not nearly what I wanted to get done,” Stansbury said.
The airport has made several significant enhancements over the last year, the airport authority reported, including adding an additional flight time and upgrading to an all-jet service schedule. The primary runway was resurfaced, and new lights were installed — initiatives which not only reduce energy consumption by 75 percent each year, but also extend the life of the runways by 35 percent.
The authority board also approved a 20-year master plan that encompasses infrastructure and service enhancements it hopes will position PGV as a progressive transportation hub, a news release said. It hopes to have a new director in place by March, Stansbury said.
The new executive director will be responsible for seeing the master plan to fruition, facilitating PGV’s ability to service commercial airlines and draft grant requests to receive funds for the necessary improvements to support growth in general aviation.
Day-to-day airport operations will not be affected during this change, the news release said. PGV Director of Operations Richard Nanney continues to ensure processes and procedures run smoothly.
Stansbury said other accomplishments during her tenure included securing $19 million in state and federal grant funds to resurface the main runway and tackle other projects. The airport’s secondary runway also needs to be resurfaced, she said. The expected cost is about $8 million.
Currently, the airport’s sole domestic carrier is American Airlines which has been providing services for 30 years. Recruiting other carriers has been a challenge, Stansbury said.
PGV faces competition from other regional airports including Coastal Carolina Regional Airport in New Bern, Albert J. Ellis Aiport in Jacksonville and larger airports like Norfolk International Airport and Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
American only offers flights to its hub at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport, where passengers can catch connecting flights. Stansbury estimated between 150- 175 passengers fly out of Greenville each day.
“They (American) just upgraded their equipment and are planning another upgrade in the spring to even larger aircraft. Right now they serve this market with 50 seat aircraft and in the spring they’re going to be upgrading to 70 and 90 seat aircraft.”
For the next executive director, Stansbury said finding ways to fund the airport’s capital intensive projects will be a challenge in addition to airline recruitment and retention.
“The next director is going to have to be able to find state and federal funding to be able to preserve our existing infrastructure, and getting American to increase the number of flights or offer flights to different destinations other than just Charlotte or recruiting additional airline service is going to be one of the big challenges,” Stansbury said.
Stansbury, who replaced a retiring Jerry Vickers, said she will miss Greenville but is ready to begin her new role.
“Overall, I’ve enjoyed my time here, but I miss the Pacific Northwest and I missed home and I’m going to go home to Oregon. It is just beautiful and I just missed it and wanted to go back,” Stansbury said.
Contact Tyler Stocks at firstname.lastname@example.org or 252-329-9566. Follow him on Twitter @TylerstocksGDR