Wellington Municipal Airport Upgrades a Boon for Area

July 17, 2012

By the end of July, Wellington Municipal Airport (EGT) outside Wichita, KS, will be having its taxiway repaved, and plans are underway to extend its 4,200-foot runway to 5,200 feet, enabling it to accommodate larger aircraft.

These infrastructural updates are good news for local NBAA Members, particularly manufacturers, who will gain improved access to clients and partners worldwide.

“With added development to the airport, Wellington-based aviation support manufacturers will gain better access to both locally based aircraft manufacturers and new global markets, which in turn will benefit the local economy,” said Steve Hadley, NBAA director of regional programs, whose territory includes Kansas.

Hadley noted the Wichita area, including Wellington, is known as the “Air Capital of the World,” producing more than half of all general aviation aircraft and accounting for half of the state’s general aviation industry economic impact of $7.1 billion.

Those looking to do business with Wellington manufacturers, including Tech Aerospace (formerly BAE Systems), Clark Manufacturing, GKN Aerospace (formerly Stellex Precision Machining), and Triumph Group Accessories, among others, may operate aircraft that are not currently able to land at EGT. The planned 1,000-foot runway expansion will enable larger business aircraft to land at Wellington, streamlining the logistics for local businesses, Hadley said.

The airport is just finishing the environmental assessment for the runway extension, a $3.2 million project funded by the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program.

Wellington’s worn, 1970s-era-asphalt taxiway will be resurfaced this summer. The $172,371 project is 25 percent funded by the city of Wellington and 75 percent funded by a Kansas Department of Transportation airport improvement grant. A more resilient taxiway will mean better access to the airport’s jet fuel tank, said airport manager Patrick Hamlin.

Both projects are part of the airport’s goal to take advantage of its location in south-central Kansas, within easy reach of aircraft manufacturers such as Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Bombardier and Boeing.

“We’re looking to position ourselves as a regional jet center airport in the next five to 10 years,” said Hamlin. “Being so close to Wichita, we have world-class maintenance, but we’re also in the position of not having a control tower, so it’s easy to get in and out of the airport and makes it more time effective for operators looking for a quick fuel turn.”