Warwick, RI – The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) announced today that it will initiate a strategic business and master planning process for all five of Rhode Island’s general aviation airports. This process will include North Central State Airport, Quonset State Airport, Westerly State Airport, Block Island State Airport and Newport State Airport.
To accomplish this multi-year undertaking, RIAC will form an internal task force comprised of experts in the field of infrastructure, planning, finance, legal and property management and will also rely on consultants who will help evaluate business development opportunities and potential infrastructure needs. Additionally, RIAC will reach out to town managers and local officials to form committees in each town or city where the airports are located. RIAC expects that each of these committees would be inclusive and representative of a large number of stakeholders including neighbors, airport tenants, community leaders, town officials, business owners, tourism officials, members of the General Assembly and members of the general aviation community.
“Each local committee will incorporate input from a variety of constituencies and at the end of this process, each community will hopefully find common ground to determine what these local airports can and should be,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. “RIAC can support these conversations and produce reliable data and evaluation points for local officials to consider, but we cannot do it alone. Any and all opportunities for development will need the support of local zoning and planning ordinances and the support of the community.”
The RIAC task force will work on three deliverables as key components to formulate an overall strategic master plan that will include developing:
· A Ten-Year Facilities (buildings) Plan including the evaluation of building conditions and priorities. The plan will identify scope, budget, schedule and possible funding sources at each airport. The plan will also consider how improved facilities could impact rental rates for current tenants.
· A Ten-Year Airfield Plan that will evaluate and adopt a pavement management schedule.
· A Ten-Year Business Plan to evaluate economic development conditions and opportunities at all general aviation airports. This plan will identify all available properties that can be developed for shovel ready projects.
“The strategic master plan once adopted will provide a predictable and equitable roadmap for all stakeholders,” added Ahmad. “It is simply good public policy to evaluate this situation thoughtfully and holistically.”