Local officials are discussing how to raise the profile of the Rutland airport.
The most recent meeting of the Rutland Regional Planning Commission included a round table discussion of how the towns can be more involved with the airport — a discussion meeting minutes indicate is scheduled to resume in September.
“One thing they want to do, when Cape Air unveils its new aircraft ... they want to have a big celebration including all the Rutland region towns,” said Devon Neary, RRPC’s transportation planner, who led the discussion.
Neary said there was also broad support for creating a formal committee to work on marketing the airport. Neary said the committee could, among other roles, help Cape Air figure out what to do with the portion of its marketing budget set aside for promoting Rutland.
“They’re not local,” Neary said of the airline. “Nobody knows how to approach the Rutland region better than the region itself.”
Neary said he expected the committee would be modeled after a similar one in Springfield.
“In Springfield, they have a very active committee that meets on a monthly basis and has a formal structure,” said Michele Boomhower, director of policy, planning and intermodal development for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. “Rutland has kind of had a hybrid of that on and off.”
Most recently, she said, airport manager Chris Beitzel has sent out invitations for informal monthly discussions. Boomhower said the Springfield committee promotes the airport and works to bring businesses to the airport. She said Rutland’s airport has room to host a variety of businesses related to aviation.
“It could be a flight school. It could be aircraft part manufacturing. It could be aircraft assembly. It could be avionics. ... Those are the kinds of things an airport committee works on.”
Boomhower said the committee would create relationships with businesses that could benefit from aviation, such as planning and promoting a service flying in skiers coming to Killington, and attracting events, such as “fly-ins” participated in by private plane owners.
“There’s a whole host of aviation activities,” she said.