By Kayla Anderson/Battle Born Media

The Hawthorne Industrial Airport recently received a $3.3 million grant through the Nevada Department of Transportation to improve its taxiway, allowing more airplanes to come in and out of the airport.
“The taxiway is over 25 years old and it’s in disrepair. This funding is going to help out tremendously,” says Hawthorne Industrial Airport Manager Eric Hamrey. He explained that there has not been enough room for two C-130 planes to taxi and take off at the same time, and that this funding will greatly help improve the airport to accommodate more aircraft.
“When one airplane lands there’s not enough room for another to take off,” Hamrey says. The grant will be mainly used to widen/relocate 100 feet of asphalt as well as help install runway lighting and upgrade the airport’s facilities to provide better service and airplane navigation.
“This will help larger aircraft taxi and land,” he says, referring to private, commercial, and military planes with larger wingspans.
Hamrey says that the airport became aware of the grant through longtime volunteer and airport greeter Betty Easley.
“Betty is a huge asset to the airport. She brought this to our attention and then we called our consultants who helped us put in a proposal,” says Hamrey. The airport submitted their proposal 6-8 weeks ago, so they are thrilled that the project is moving along so fast, especially with the current COVID-19 situation going on. Normally the airport sees an average of 30-70 flights going in and out per month (depending on the weather), but it seems to have dropped a bit.
“We do accommodate private and commercial flights, and lots of med flights and care flights coming in. We also get a lot of military training flights doing touch-and-go’s and working with the Air Guard up in Reno,” Hamrey adds. The airport noticed that flight traffic has been down judging from its fuel sales, but it won’t affect the monies received for the airport improvement project.
“Betty did a great job in bringing this to our attention. I just want to truly thank her for what she does at the airport and recognizing this opportunity for us,” Hamrey says.
Nevada Senators Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen are huge proponents in passing this grant funding and stated, “Nevada’s rural airports play a vital role in keeping our rural economies strong, delivering medical and food supplies to remote communities and ensuring patients who may need health care in metro-area hospitals can access the emergency care they need. Infrastructure funding for Nevada is one of our top priorities in the Senate, and this grant will help make sure that Hawthorne’s airport can continue to provide essential services for Mineral County.”