Pitt-Greenville Airport enters next phase in expansion project

GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - The Pitt-Greenville Airport is entering the next phase in its expansion that began last year. The Federal Aviation Administration is requiring the airport to expand what it calls the "runway protection zone."

The previous requirement was for a zone of 600 feet, which was good for prop planes. According to Airport Manager Jerry Vickers, the expansion will increase this zone to 1000 feet. In addition, the FAA is mandating that trees surrounding the zone meet certain height limits.

Vickers offered an explanation:

"We have two issues out there. One is we have tall trees all in the area. And so with those homes, all we want to do is get an easement to allow us to take down your trees and pay you the so-called damages. We have some, just a handful of residence, who are in that zone. But we don't have to buy them- that's voluntary. The FAA would like us to own those. But it's permissible if the landowner desires to stay there," Vickers said.

Vickers said this expansion phase should take about a year, and progress has been faster than the FAA had expected. Vickers added that the expansion is not intended to have bigger jets or to expand the runway, and that passengers have always been safe. The project is just added protection for the areas around the airport.

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