It was 1930 when the Town Council of Manassas advised for a Landing strip to be built, down the Virginia 234 route close to Manassas. Back then, Manassas had a population of 1215, and Harry Davis was the City Mayor. The existing airport shared his name as a mark of respect.
In 1931, an investment group bought nearly ninety-five land acres in the place presently called Manaport Shopping Precinct, down Route 234. Manassas City started leasing the airport that year, and it opened officially on the 8th of June.
During the coming years, an extra 12.6 land acres were bought and numerous enhancements were made to the airport. The City purchased the airport in 1945.
Relocating the Airport
Because of the airport’s increased activity and the encroaching property development, the local government in Manassas felt that it had to put the airport in a different location. Local, federal and state funds were used to buy 268 acres in 1963. Then, Manassas Municipal Airport was opened on 20th September 1964. This new airport had one runway measuring 3700′ by 100′, along with a maintenance hangar, a rotating beacon, thirty T Hangars, and an office.
Lots of things have changed at the regional airport in Manassas since 1964. Extra land was bought and numerous upgrades were introduced. A parallel runway measuring 5700′ was built, along with a taxiway in 1997. Over the following years, areas for ramps, access, and perimeter roadways, and a Central Terminal Building were constructed on the airfield’s eastern side. Private franchisees have built extra Corporate Hangars, T Hangars, offices and similar facilities.
Constructing the Airport
Manassas took its’ first steps towards ‘recycling’ an airport control tower in 1992. This tower came from a Denver airport, and it was shipped to Manassas after being disassembled. Upon reassembly at Manassas Regional Airport, the tower was opened on 16th April 1992. In September 1996, an updated Main Terminal was finally finished as well.
An airfield lighting system, 16L PAPIs, and a segmented circle were installed in 1998. By 2000, pilots benefited greatly from the rehabilitation of Taxiway Alpha and Runway 16R/34L.
During the following years, the regional airport at Manassas acquired several corporate hangars. In total, four such hangars were constructed on the airport’s northeastern side. In addition, James Payne Court was built – named in honor of the airport’s original 1960 committee member.
The Taxiway Bravo and primary runway (16L/34R) started to be upgraded in 2003. This process continued over the next few years. The project involved altering the taxiway’s ninety-degree exits to allow aircraft to leave the runway at a slower speed. The parallel taxiway and primary runway’s bridges were rebuilt as well, to handle heavier and bigger types of aircraft.
The Impact of the Airport
With more than 85k flights each year and 400 planes, the regional airport at Manassas is Virginia’s busiest GA (General Aviation) airport. Since it opened in 1932, this airport has contributed greatly to the city economy. During 2011, research concerning the airport’s economic impact was carried out; and this established that the airport brought in over $234 million to the city economy. The FAA named this airport among the eighty-four National GA airports in 2012. As a result if you are looking to experience some of the trail in VA don’t hesitate to hop on down!
The Latest Upgrades and Future Plans
The airport finished expanding its’ East Apron area in 2007. This involved building some new T hangars and Taxilane Golf. Also, it added twenty-two extra tie downs to join the existing eighty-eight tie downs.
On 18th November 2012, the regional airport at Manassas finished the first phase of its’ Runway Expansion Project, changing the distance of runway 16L/34R to 6200′. Between Spring 2013 and Winter 2014, the project’s second phase was finished as well. This included the Instrument Landing System relocation, the Taxiway Kilo realignment, and the Runway 34R and Taxiway Bravo bridge broadening project.
In future, upgrades will feature an environmental evaluation for the redevelopment of the West Side, a modern airport plan and the building of Taxiway Delta (already in its’ last phase). Things have clearly come a long way since the airport’s modest beginnings, which is good news for locals and tourists alike.