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Yeager Airport will remain open during government shutdown

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CHARLESTON, WV -

Because of an arrangement with the Air National Guard, which shares a runway with Yeager Airport, Kanawha County Commission met in emergency session Oct. 2 to keep the airport open during the government shutdown.

Yeager maintains the airfield, removes snow and provides runway lighting in exchange for firefighting and aircraft rescue services from the Guard, which saves the airport about $1.5 million a year, according to the commission. The Guard relies on federal funding to provide the on-site fire protection, and without it, commercial airline service could be suspended.

During an emergency session of the Kanawha County Commission, commissioners agreed to ensure firefighters are paid during the shutdown.

Adj. Gen. James Hoyer announced Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin has agreed for the state to pay for seven days of air service, which will cost about $39,000.

"On behalf of the Yeager Board of Directors and all our employees, I want to personally thank Gov. Tomblin, Kanawha County Commission President Kent Carper and Commissioners Hoppy Shores and Dave Hardy for their swift action on this matter.

"This is a major financial commitment by the county, but one that is absolutely essential in order to ensure that the airport remain open and that the traveling public is protected."