June 14, 2017
When Dawn Veatch was named manager of Salisbury-Wicomico-Ocean City Regional Airport (SBY) in February, she immediately began the process of rebranding the facility, and the field is now known as SBY Regional Airport.
“We wanted people to instantly recognize this as a regional airport, and the shorter name will fit on the new highway signs,” Veatch said, adding the rebranding effort has led to an overall resurgence of interest in the airport from general aviation users, business leaders and the public.
The addition of a rebranded website, and a recent Wing and Wheels event, is helping to reintroduce SBY as a community airport.
“Since 9/11, airports have fences, and past management believed you could not have the public on a FAR 139 airport with air carrier operations,” Veatch explained. “We ended up with over 2,000 attendees at our Wings and Wheels event, and furthered our mission of exposing another generation to aviation by getting the public out to the airport.”
Veatch has no shortage of new ideas to make SBY more attractive to general aviation pilots, including business pilots. A recent development was to secure an FAA flight surgeon, who is putting his examination rooms right on the airport so pilots can fly in for their new BasicMed exams.
The airport is also adding new T-hangars, and other long-term projects in development include adding self-fueling, a wash rack, GSA contract fuel, a fly-in restaurant and an industrial park at the airport.
It makes sense that Veatch knows what is important to general aviation pilots, because she holds an ATP license, and has had a career in aviation that includes flying firefighting aircraft and King Air 200s, and also working at FAA and AOPA.
“I really don’t know how anyone can manage an airport without being a pilot,” Veatch said. “Until you have experienced the freedom of flight and understand the essential services and amenities needed to attract general and business aviation traffic, a manager’s vision would be severely limited.”