New Philadelphia, Ohio (WJER) - The city’s Airport Commission chair says they are trying to convince the Federal Aviation Administration to let the city keep its airport runway the way it is.

John Zucal says they were initially contacted by the FAA to lengthen the runway in order to address what the administration called safety hazards to landing pilots. Zucal says after the commission refused that request, the FAA ordered them to shorten the runway by 300-feet (so the airport would be reclassified and restrict which types of aircraft could use the airport.)

“By shortening it, it would reclassify us which would then, in turn, limit the type of aircraft that could land at Harry Clever Field,” he says. “Their recommendation to remove 300 feet of runway space would reclassify us which would eliminate the amount of aircraft or the type of aircraft that could come in.”

Zucal says they have never had any safety issues related to the length of the runway, and are asking the FAA to allow them to keep it the same length and classification. 

Meanwhile, Zucal says the runway will be getting some improvements as they apply for a 95-percent matching grant to install new landing lights… (through the Ohio Airport Grant Program)

“They’re sold old that you can’t find any parts for it. We’ve checked on that, so the only way to go is a new one,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity through the Ohio aviation grant program. [It’s a] $95,000 cost, but the cost to the city of New Philadelphia would be only $5,000 which would be part of the budget we already have.”  

Additionally, Zucal says the FAA provided the city about $1-million to repave the current runway last year, so he feels they will be willing to keep their investment the way it is for now. 


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