CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The seven-county region supporting Yeager Airport has received certification as an AEROready community. AEROready certification involves a deep analysis of property, labor, education and infrastructure to ensure a region has the capacity to support the aerospace industry. The Yeager Airport analysis includes Kanawha, Putnam, Boone, Mingo, Logan, Lincoln and Roane counties.
“We want the aviation industry to know that West Virginia can be a hub for their business,” said Yeager Airport Director Nick Keller at a meeting Monday to review the certification process findings. “This certification allows us to go out and recruit businesses to come here, so we can continue building the aviation industry in the mountain state.”
Consultants Tucson Atlantic Consulting and Common Sense Economic Development led the certification process, which was funded by Appalachian Power, according to John Smolak, Appalachian Power economic development director. The AEROready studies are part of the company’s West Virginia Advantage Plan, which is providing $1 million in funding to economic development projects across the company’s service area.
“Appalachian Power is dedicated to providing resources to assist our communities in attracting and retaining industry,” said Brad Hall, Appalachian Power’s external affairs vice president. “These aerospace programs have the potential to bring high-wage jobs to the region. We are appreciative of the collaboration with our local partners as we all work to create a better future for West Virginia.”
Last fall, the regions around Raleigh County Memorial Airport and Greenbrier Valley Airport both received AEROready certification. These certification efforts also were funded by Appalachian Power’s West Virginia Advantage Plan.
Previously, the four counties supporting Huntington’s Tri-State Airport were certified as AEROready, so a total of 21 counties in the state have the coveted certification, along with four commercial airports.
The certification process helps area economic developers determine whether to target aerospace industries and it provides those industries with a wealth of data they can use to make decisions about where to locate.
Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is part of American Electric Power, which is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions. AEP’s more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million customers in 11 states. AEP is also one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,300 megawatts of renewable energy.