The following is a republished press release from the Tompkins County Legislature and NOT written by the Ithaca Voice … click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact me at

ITHACA, NY — Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport has been awarded a more than $600,000 New York State Airport Infrastructure grant, among $10 million awarded for airport capital project improvements across New York State, as part of the Governor’s Aviation Capital Grant Program.

The $619,935 grant, awarded through the competitive grant program, will fund construction of a Flight Academy Building at the Airport, which will significantly expand the breadth and depth of training services offered at the airport.

“Nationwide and in Tompkins County, air service is being held back by a growing pilot shortage,” said Airport Manager Mike Hall.  “With the Governor’s support, we will now expand pilot training at the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport to help address the critical requirement for more pilots.”

The project involves construction of a new 2,500 square foot single-story office-type building to house a dedicated flight training center, including flight simulation rooms, a lecture hall, classroom and meeting rooms, conference areas, and offices for instructors and support staff.

The flight training center will be operated by a new not-for-profit entity, the East Hill Aviation Academy, contractually utilizing resources from the existing East Hill Flying Club.  East Hill Flying Club, an FAA-certified flight school, has been in operation since 1952, pre-dating the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, and is one of the oldest flight training organizations in New York State.

The Airport’s successful grant application notes that the project creates an opportunity for growth in the aviation industry, providing an incubator for developing aviation professionals, and addresses needs identified in the 2008 State Airport System Plan Summary Report.

The application states that State support for this type of development “is necessary to enhance revenue generation and foster economic growth within the aviation market.”

In announcing the capital project improvement awards, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo stated, “Our airports are the gateways to New York and serve as key drivers of job creation and economic growth for communities across the state.

These improvements will help make our airports safer and more accessible to millions of travelers and ensure they remain viable transportation hubs and economic engines for years to come.”

(Featured photo courtesy of Jason O’Halloran on Flickr)

Michael Smith reports on politics and local news for the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached via email at, by cell at (607) 229-0885, or via Google Voice at (518) 650-3639.