BLOUNTVILLE, TN -- Tri-Cities Regional Airport, TN/VA, celebrated a milestone Friday with a reception recognizing 75 years of service to the region.
In 1934, when commercial aviation was just getting started, several forward thinking individuals got together with the big idea of creating a central airport to serve the region. With initial contributions from Bristol, Tenn., Kingsport, Johnson City and Sullivan County to purchase 323 acres and funding from the Works Progress Administration, McKellar Tri-City Airport was dedicated November 5, 1937.
“In celebrating Tri-Cities Regional Airport’s 75 th anniversary, we are honoring one of the first and most enduring examples of regionalism in our area,” says Patrick Wilson, TCRA executive director.
The next 25 years will begin with a new organizational structure. The Airport Commission officially converted to an Airport Authority at the board meeting prior to the reception.
“While the Airport users won’t notice any operational changes, the new authority structure will allow the Airport to operate more efficiently, respond more quickly to grant opportunities and offer additional legal protections to the city and county owners,” says Wilson.
“There’s nothing that changes with our employee base, and nothing that changes with the way the airport is administered.”
To celebrate the 75th Anniversary, Tennessee Commissioner of Transportation John Schroer spoke to guests about the importance of the Airport to the state transportation system and Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey presented a resolution from the State General Assembly recognizing the Airport’s commitment to excellence over the years.
At the conclusion of the event, a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft form the Air National Guard based in Knoxville treated guests and visitors to a flyby reminiscent of the flyby at the dedication ceremony in 1937.