The future use of the airport in Georgetown is a subject that I have pondered for many years. I discussed it with Sussex County Administrator Todd Lawson and Councilman Doug Hudson over two years ago, and spoke at one of Sussex County’s Airport Committee meetings.
I keep bringing it up because of the airport’s impact on attracting high-paid jobs and businesses.
Each time there was a talk about the Wilmington Airport serving passengers, I repeatedly said Wilmington Airport’s infrastructure would serve Delaware well as a freight airport, not as a passenger airport due to the proximity to the Baltimore and Philadelphia airports. Again, I was right. Frontier is pulling out of Wilmington Airport.
So, what am I talking about here?
Sussex County needs to bring in high-tech businesses to retain our younger generations and their brains. When high-tech companies look for locations, broadband infrastructure is definitely on the top of their priorities, as well as the pool of qualified, well-trained employees. Another priority is easy access to airline transportation.
I am talking about working on bringing commercial passenger airlines to Delaware Coastal Airport. I know it is not a popular idea among many residents because it will bring more people to Sussex County, but let’s face it, we have already passed the threshold beyond going back to rural Sussex, a hidden coastal gem.
Bringing in a commercial passenger airline is not an easy thing to do and takes many years. I applauded two years ago when Sussex County recruited Robert Bryant, the former longtime manager of the Wicomico Airport, as the manager of our Georgetown airport. Even with his expertise in managing a regional passenger airport, this effort will have to be supported by locals and county officials.
With American Airlines serving the Wicomico County airport with flights to Charlotte, N.C., and Philadelphia, Sussex County could attract another one, such as Delta, United or Southwest, to get the local residents to other big hubs like Dulles, Baltimore, Chicago, Atlanta or Dallas/Fort Worth airports.
It is time to think about and talk about the possibility of bringing in a regular commercial passenger airline.
A passenger airport in Georgetown will one day help the many growing elderly population who will not be able to drive to Philly or Baltimore.