The Hickory Regional Airport, owned and operated by the City of Hickory, is the aviation leader in Western North Carolina. The Hickory Regional Airport provides the Hickory Metro area with a gateway to the world through a well-maintained runway/taxiway system, a customer-focused terminal building, and aircraft services through the City-operated Fixed-Base Operations (FBO). Conveniently located just off U.S. 321 at 3101 9th Avenue Drive NW. Hickory’s airport is a general aviation airport, not currently served by a commercial airline.
With a commitment to providing the highest level of service to its customers, the Hickory Regional Airport offers free Wireless Internet Access, exceptional facilities, free parking, advanced airfield maintenance and timely service, and fuel operations.
For more information about the Hickory Regional Airport, please contact the FBO at (828) 327-0147 or Airport Director Terry Clark at (828) 323-7408.
History of Hickory Regional Airport
The Hickory Municipal Airport was first opened to aircraft traffic on May 17, 1940. At that time, there were two unpaved runways which were 2,700 and 3,100 feet in length. Shortly thereafter, the runway which came to be designated 6/24 was lengthened and both of the existing runways were paved. On August 2, 1941, Pennsylvania Central Airline which later became Capital Airlines, brought the first scheduled air-carrier service to Hickory.
This service was interrupted by World War II, and was suspended in May, 1942. During the war years the Hickory Municipal Airport served as a Pilot Training center for the Military. In 1947, the Civil Aeronautics Administration opened the Hickory Interstate Airways Communications Station, which was housed in a wooden structure on the south side of the field, at the former FBO site.
Now known: as the Flight Service Station, this operation is now housed, along with a portion of the Systems Maintenance Sector, in the Terminal Building. The main offices for the Systems Maintenance Sector are now located in the present FBO office building. In May, 1950, the City of Hickory contracted for the construction of a North-South Runway (runway 1/19), which is a total of 4,400 feet in length. Capital Airlines resumed scheduled service in August 1951, and continued until August 1952, at which time Piedmont Airlines began to serve Hickory. Piedmont presently operates five flights daily to and from Hickory, and in the calendar year 1976 boarded 15,359 passengers here. Approximately the same number of persons deplaned in Hickory. Since initial construction, runway 6/24 has been extended in length twice, to its present length of 6,402 feet. A full Instrument Landing System (ILS) has been installed on runway 24, and was commissioned during the calendar year, 1977. An Approach Lighting System has also been installed on this runway.
In the early part of 1969, a new High Intensity Lighting system was installed on this runway, and at the present time, lighting is being installed on the parallel taxiway. Also at this time, a taxiway is being constructed, parallel to runway 1/19, complete with lighting. In this same improvements project, runway 6/24 was overlayed for the purpose of increasing the pavement strength, and a new 36-inch Airport Beacon is being installed.
In the Fall of 1973, the Federal Aviation Administration, following much planning and work, commissioned an Air Traffic Control Tower at the Hickory Airport, and since that time,all aircraft movement on the Air Operations Areas of the Airport and all aircraft movement within the control zone of the airport, a five-mile radius, has been under the supervision and control of personnel in the Control Tower.
In 1960, the base of operations for the airport was moved from the south side of the field, when a new terminal building was constructed. In the mid-1960's, the Fixed Base Operator, Cannon Aviation, Inc., also moved from the south side of the field, into new quarters adjacent to the Terminal Building. The Fixed Base Operation was later bought by a locally formed corporation, Carolina Airways, Inc., and since that time, two substantial expansion projects have been completed.
For many years now, the airplane has ceased to be a novelty and has become, among other things, a vital tool of modern business. Industries locate where airports are. This has been evidenced repeatedly in the case of the Hickory Municipal Airport. For example, in the March 1969 issue of "CONTRAILS," a publication of Lear Jet Industries, the owner of a 30-million dollar-a-year business (at that time) was quoted as saying that the reason for it moving his firm's base of operations from a neighboring county to Catawba County, was "...to be nearer the airport..."
Officials of the J.P. Stevens Company, at the time of construction of a huge manufacturing plant nearby, stated that the local airport was a major factor in the decision to locate here. Also, when Superior Continental Corporation decided to locate a corporate office facility in Hickory, company officials were quoted in the news media as saying that one of the primary reasons for choosing Hickory was the easy accessibility of an adequate airport. These three examples only serve to illustrate in token fashion what the airport means to our community. The airport is every citizen's connecting link with everywhere.
The Hickory Regional Airport is vital to the continued growth of the Hickory Metro area, and aviation safety is vital to the continued growth of the airport.