January 31, 2011
Community Support for Airport Stems From Recognition of Its Positive Economic Impact
Many community airports nationwide are fighting for the kind of recognition and support enjoyed by Addison Airport (ADS). Located in the upscale city of Addison, Texas, about 20 miles northwest of Dallas, the airport is seen not only as a driver of growth for the area’s thriving business community, but also as a key contributor to Addison’s quality of life.
“It’s very hard to find such a wonderful airport in such a busy area,” said Addison’s Mayor Joe Chow. “Geographically, this is the best located general aviation airport. It’s convenient, near the toll-way, and it is served by all kinds of local businesses.”
Chow points to the more than 175 restaurants and 20 hotels based within a mile of the facility, which he said help make Addison a key entry point for tourists and business travelers visiting the Dallas area. “It’s very easy for companies to hold meetings on or near the airport, which is why we have so many major companies based near here,” he said.
A recent economic impact study of ADS found it contributed more than $618 million in local revenue, and generated 3,022 airport service-related jobs, according to Darci Neuzil, Addison Airport deputy director. These figures demonstrate conclusively the value a thriving community airport can have for communities across the country.
City, Businesses Invest in ADS Improvements
To their credit, Addison city officials clearly understand this. As further proof of Addison City Council’s support of the airport, Chow said the town is spending millions of dollars on improvements to the airport, including repaving the runway and upgrading the facility’s emergency landing system.
With more than 60 businesses based at the airport, those improvements are leading some operators based at the facility to invest in improvements of their own. For example, Million Air Dallas is about to break ground on a new $4 million, 40,000-square-foot hangar at the airport, said Jack Hopkins, president of the operation. With seven hangars already under roof there, the new facility will give Million Air Dallas more than 130,000 square feet of total hangar space at ADS.
Million Air Dallas opened in Addison in 1984, back when the town was a remote rural community on the fringe of the Dallas-Ft. Worth metro area. In fact, it was Million Air’s first location. Today, Million Air Dallas operates a full-service FBO, as well as a charter management company with more than 20 charter jets on site, Hopkins said.
Given his long tenure at the airport, and all the changes he’s witnessed along the way, Hopkins has seen the positive impact that strong local support can have on a community airport. For him, it starts with city officials and local residents fully understanding how an airport can boost the local economy.
“Addison is a very business-intensive city,” Hopkins said. “The city sees how we help all these other businesses in town, and see us a real asset. So they treat us that way.”