Calling the Wilmington Airport “one of the largest and underutilized assets owned” by the county, New Castle County Executive Matt Meyer this week appointed a blue-ribbon panel of local movers and shakers to help determine the facility’s fate.
Meyer’s commission will be chaired by former Delaware Economic Development Director Alan Levin and include developers Paul McConnell and Chris Buccini as well as other corporate and political officials. At a press conference this week, Levin said commercial service in Wilmington with Frontier was “wildly popular,” but that the airline wasn’t fully committed to maintaining its scheduled flights and ultimately failed for this reason.
The task force will consider current and possible new economic options for the airport, including “diversifying the business model.” The group will engage an external consultant and return with recommendations by April 30, 2020.
The airport currently operates under an agreement between the county and the Delaware River and Bay Authority (DRBA) that is set to expire in 2025. According to the agreement, the County is required to inform DRBA by June 30, 2020 if the County decides to renew or terminate the existing agreement.
Meyer says the airport can be leveraged to generate greater value for county residents.
“We owe it to the taxpayers and residents of New Castle County to ensure this airport is creating jobs and generating revenue. The task force is comprised of talented and experienced individuals who have specific expertise to lend to the conversation regarding existing for future opportunities,” said Meyer.
Other members of the task force are:
Rick Deadwyler, Corteva
Lt. Col. Michael Hales, Director of Aviation Programs for Delaware State University
Cathy Rossi, AAA Mid-Atlantic
Ralph Kunz, COO, Greenwich AeroGroup, Summit Aviation
Dr. Debbie Bullock, flight attendant and human resources consultant
Chris Buccini, Buccini/Pollin Group
Mitch Dishman, Dassault Aircraft Services
Dr. Laura Johnson, Delaware Technical Community College
George Smiley and Ken Woods, New Castle County Council
For more information about the process and detailed timeline go to: www.newcastlede.gov/airport.