Nov. 26, 2013

Texas City Embraces GA Airport as Economic Driver

McKinney National Airport (TKI), photo by Laura Smetak

Officials in McKinney, TX earlier this month finalized a deal to invest $25 million to buy the former Collin County Regional Airport (TKI) and expand its business aircraft services.

The newly renamed McKinney National Airport has a 7,000-foot-long runway, new control tower and instrument approach, but the airport has never had any air carrier service, and locals plan to keep it that way.

“Economic development by business aviation, that’s the ticket,” said Ken Wiegand, Collin County’s airport director. “The McKinney City Council understands we’re ideally situated for attracting businesses that use aircraft, so they want TKI to be the best general aviation airport in the region.”

TKI overview

City officials said that the airport is already a business magnet, attracting companies like Texas Instruments and Torchmark. In addition, the 10,000-member Commemorative Air Force (CAF) announced in July that Collin County is on its short list to be a site to house some of CAFs most valuable World War II warbirds. Plans include a museum, headquarters space and a base of operations for the group.

The airport’s expanded FBO, renamed McKinney Air Center, is currently open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., with night callouts available, but there are plans to expand to 24-hour fuel and ramp services as traffic increases. The FBO offers numerous amenities, including catering, crew cars, a crew lounge, flight planning and weather facilities, and on-site auto rental. U.S. Customs services will remain available.

Steve Hadley, NBAA Southwest regional representative and director of regional programs, noted that the revitalized McKinney airport is just 30 miles north of Dallas and has been growing in popularity as a destination for business aircraft.

Statistics provided by airport management show a steady growth in takeoffs and landings by business-type aircraft in the last five years, from just under a third of all operations to nearly half this year. Total operations have increased by about 6 percent in less than a year, from 83,750 at the end of calendar year 2012 to more than 88,000 as of Sept. 30.

“[TKI] is already one of the area’s premier general aviation airports, and our commitment is to… make it the regional airport of choice for basing aircraft and traveling to North Texas,” said Mayor Brian Loughmiller. “This [is] a tremendous opportunity for the city to build on the airport’s role as an economic driver for McKinney.”