New airport director sees basic improvements needed

MORGANTOWN – There are both significant opportunities and significant challenges facing the Morgantown Municipal Airport, according to new Airport Director Jonathan Vrabel.

Vrabel has 25 years of executive aviation experience and was named to the job on Aug. 22, succeeding Mick Galusky, who retired from the role back in April. He officially stepped into the job on Sept. 6 and has already identified very basic improvements that are needed.

“There’s no signage to get you to the terminal. There’s no good signs to even tell you there’s an airport here,” Vrabel said on Wednesday’s Talk of the Town with Dave & Sarah on WAJR.

“Just a whole modernization of the terminal itself. The building built in 1972 still looks like it was built in 1972. It needs brought up to today’s technology and look.”

In addition to the infrastructure improvements Vrabel is eyeing, Vrabel stated that air service provider Soutern Airways is working on interline agreements with Southwest and Jet Blue, like the current interline agreement it has with American Airlines that allows passengers the ability to travel on a single itinerary.

Vrabel most recently held the title of Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for the Capital Region Airport Authority in Lansing, MI. Prior to that, Vrabel worked for the Cleveland Airport System for more than seven years.

“There’s a lot of opportunity to do that here, with passenger growth, airport infrastructure, terminal improvements, basic customer service improvements all around, I saw that as a great opportunity for me,” Vrabel said.

While major projects, such as the runway extension, are undoubtedly critical to the future success of the airport, Vrabel believes getting community buy-in can go a long way to viability of the airport.

“Inviting the community out to the airport for different events we put on. Once people know the airport is here, they see the services we offer and the get a better understanding of this great resource we have in our backyard.”