After a slowdown early in the pandemic, Brunswick Executive Airport is more active than ever and set to become a major player in aviation training, according to Kristine Logan, executive director of the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority.

“The airport is doing really well,” Logan said. “It’s a great asset. We want to make sure we’re using it to its full extent.”

After years of steady growth, the complex saw a dip in takeoffs and landings in 2020, according to Logan. Yet Brunswick’s airport bounced back quickly, as passengers wary of crowded commercial flights increasingly turned toward private and chartered flights.

Brunswick hosted 27,000 takeoffs and landings in 2021, more than the annual figure when the Navy operated the airbase, Logan said. That total is primed to continue to grow each year, thanks in part to new upgrades and businesses coming to the airport.

Last week, Sen. Susan Collins announced the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Fiscal Year 2022 Airport Improvement Program included over $370,000 for the installation of a new automated weather reporting system at Brunswick Executive Airport.

The incoming AWOS-3 system will provide pilots with more detailed weather information, including cloud height data, as they approach Brunswick, according to Jim Nall, general manager of FlightLevel Aviation, the airport’s fixed-base operator.


“It’s a much more accurate system than the one we have now,” Nall said.

The airport has also received federal funding to develop a plan for a customs facility, which would allow Brunswick to accept Canadian and European travelers, who currently have to fly farther south or west to land at airports that can check them through customs, Logan said.

Those upgrades would improve a facility that has already attracted a collection of flight schools and aviation training programs.

“I really do believe Brunswick and Midcoast Maine can be the epicenter of aviation training because of the facility that was left behind,” said Earle Harvey, chief flight instructor at New England Aviation Academy. “I think the opportunity is there.”

The airport’s long, 8,000-foot runway, open air space and promise of coastal views makes it an ideal place for pilots to train, Harvey said. With the threat of a national pilot shortage looming, Brunswick and its four flight schools have a chance to fill the void.

“We’re really all in with the airport,” said Harvey, who said New England Aviation Academy has a growing roster of 20 students, some of whom are aiming to become commercial pilots. “It’s a fabulous place to train.”

The airport is currently working with the University of Maine at Augusta to start that state’s first Air Maintenance Technician school, according to Logan. The program could produce desperately needed workers and make Brunswick even more attractive for aviation and aerospace companies.

“We just continually try here to bring the best programs and companies we can here that benefit the Midcoast region,” Nall said. “And, hopefully, grow the airport in a way that helps the local economy and people’s lives.”

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