FBO Profile: Capital Jet Center, West Virginia Yeager International Airport
It’s been four years since West Virginia Yeager International Airport (KCRW) suddenly found itself in the FBO business. In 2018, the airport’s board of directors voted to cancel its contract with its longtime service provider after that company’s president pleaded guilty to federal charges of illegal storage of FBO hazardous waste, thus paving the way for the airport to take over the installation. At the time, the airport manager noted the trend for airports the size of KCRW to reclaim their FBOs for self-management and indicated that the decision to take over the FBO did not depend entirely on the legal issue.
The airport originally opened in 1947 as Kanawha Airport and was renamed in 1985 in honor of Chuck Yeager, son of the country and aviation legend. After assuming FBO operations, he renamed the facility Capital Jet Center (CJC), befitting its role as the private aviation gateway to the state capital, Charleston.
Located at the southeast end of the field, the FBO offers a 2,800 square foot terminal on two floors with an upstairs pilot lounge with ramp views, a rehearsal room, showers, a flight/weather planning, two a/v-conference rooms equipped with 6 and 10 seats respectively, and crew cars. While rental cars from most major suppliers can be obtained at the commercial terminal with an advance reservation, they can also be delivered to the FBO before flights arrive.
KCRW is the state’s only international airport and in April it celebrated the grand opening of its US customs facility. The $4 million, 5,000 square foot building is connected to the terminal by a glass hallway and is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, but can also provide after-hours clearance by appointment.
Housing several dozen aircraft, the airport complex offers several community hangars for a total of 55,000 square feet of space. It can accommodate aircraft up to the latest large cabin business jets and CJC will soon be acquiring a Lektro aircraft tug to move them. Additionally, the airport is seeking to issue an RFI on the construction of up to three 10,000 square foot private hangars.
The airport, which has a 6,800ft runway, is open 24/7 and its FBO handles many nightly emergency medical flights of patients heading to the city’s two main hospitals. . The state’s coal and natural gas industries also bring traffic to the airport. And with nearby New River Gorge being named the country’s newest national park, the FBO has seen an increase in traffic over the past year. as well. Additionally, last fall, Marshall University launched the Bill Noe Flight School in the field with Capital Jet Center providing ground handling.
Managing Director of Customer Service Andrea Gritt noted that activity so far in 2022 is 80% above Covid-affected 2020 totals and is on course to surpass pre-Covid 2019 levels. With 8 .5 acres of ramp space, the airport looks to future growth. “Right now, with the size of our ramp, we’re tight, and if things continually increase at the rate they’re increasing, we’ll be significantly tightened,” added Kevin Brown, who leads aviation services at the FBO.
Seeking to eventually double its existing ramp, the airport’s first phase of construction – funded by a mix of FAA AIP grants, state infrastructure funds and airport capital – could possibly begin this summer and would involve paving virgin property as well as converting the underused parallel taxiway Charlie into an aircraft parking area.
The FBO has 28 employees and its line staff trained by Nata Safety 1st provides all field refueling services to business, commercial, military and general aviation traffic. It pumps an average of 2.3 million gallons per year from its fuel farm which has a capacity of 40,000 gallons of jet-A and 10,000 gallons of avgas.
The Epic Fuels-branded facility just renewed its tanker fleet last year, receiving four new jet tankers (two 7,000-gallon, one 5,000-gallon and one 3,000-gallon) along with a pair of 1000 gallon avgas trucks.
“At CJC, we try to have a positive attitude and help every customer who walks through our door,” Gritt said. AIN. She recalled a recent instance where a based client mentioned he was going to be bringing home a newly adopted puppy on his flight home. The FBO staff immediately sprang into action and threw a surprise welcome party for the dog upon his arrival, much to his owner’s delight and amusement.