The Sky is the Limit at the Virginia Highlands Airport

Quick facts and stats about the Virginia Highlands Airport.

By
Kevin Litwin
On Friday, July 31, 2020 - 13:02
va

A convenient transportation asset for air travelers in southwest Virginia and northeast Tennessee, Virginia Highlands Airport (VJI), has also served the government, the military, private aircraft owners and local companies since the 1960s. Washington County owns VJI, and it is run by the Washington County Airport Authority.

For 2020, airport officials are compiling an email list for anyone wishing to be notified about meeting changes, updates, events,  press releases and more. Just email vji46@embarqmail.com and ask to be added. In the meantime, here are five key things to know about the region’s airport.

Prime Location

The airport is situated in a prime location – only 2 miles from downtown Abingdon – to provide easy access to residents as well as businesspeople visiting Washington County. VJI is located off Interstate 81 on the Virginia-Tennessee state line, making it an ideal gateway to northeast Tennessee and the beautiful southwest Virginia.

Who’s Using It

VJI accommodates a variety of area companies with corporate aircraft, including Bass Pro Shops, Burger King, First Bank & Trust Co., Food City and Virginia Forestry Service. Besides corporate jets, there are 55 other private and government aircraft on the grounds, and the Virginia State Police has a reconnaissance airplane and two Medevac helicopters with a nurse and paramedics. The U.S. Forest Service also has an aerial firefighting unit at the airport\ during fire seasons.

Economic Impact

VJI adds to the area’s economy and provides jobs, generating more than $7 million in economic activity each year. A good amount of money raised originates from aircraft parking and storage. There are presently 39 T-Hangers, five corporate hangers and two ClearSpan hangers, and a recently completed VJI Layout Plan.

Expansion Plans

Airport officials are in the midst of a multiphase upgrade project to extend VJI’s runway from 4,400 to 5,500 feet. In 2018, the airport received a $4.3 million grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), then the airport received another $4.15 million in 2019 to continue the runway extension. In February 2020, the FAA approved another $4.85 million grant to complete construction.

Amenities for Travelers

Numerous on-site services are available to pilots and other travelers using VJI. The terminal building features a pilot lounge, crew kitchen, flight planning room and a conference room, while airfield services include a ground power unit, tie-downs and flight training. In addition, VJI offers rental cars and a shuttle service, and more than a dozen restaurants are within 2 miles of the airport.

If you'd like to learn more about the Washington County area, check out the latest edition of Livability: Washington County

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kevin Litwin is the author of Crazy Lucky Dead and a freelance feature writer with a career spanning more than 20 years.