Director's Column

Director of the McKinney National Airport Ken Carley 

McKinney Courier Gazette, March 18, 2018

It has been an expeditious first month as the Director of the McKinney National Airport. When I was chosen as the next director of the airport, I looked forward to working with the city’s management team and community stakeholders to grow the infrastructure and service amenities for the benefit of the airport users and the public. It’s truly a rare and special occurrence for a general aviation airport to realize the level of aeronautical demand that our airport enjoys, and I’m so excited to be a part of its future.

Ken Carley

Ken Carley

Land Purchase

This has already been a busy year for the airport with new announcements, groundbreakings, and many more planned for the future. The city recently purchased approximately 190 acres of land near the southeast side of the airport. The land is crucial to the long-term growth strategy of the airport and is part of our master plan to acquire additional land to allow the airport to expand as the need for infrastructure and facilities grows. As the city and the entire region continue to boom, there may be a third commercial service airport needed. McKinney National Airport is in a strategic position to provide that service when the demand and market are ready.

New 40,000-Square-Foot-Hangar and Terminal

Speaking of growth, earlier this month the airport broke ground on a new 40,000-square-foot hangar, by far the largest hangar at the airport, as part of a public-private partnership with Western LLC for a $16 million construction project. Once completed, the hangar will store up to four Gulfstream G-550 aircraft, have four office spaces ready for tenant finish out, eight fully-enclosed garage spaces for car storage, a lounge, locker room, changing rooms, restrooms and Wi-Fi.

In addition to the hangar, the $16 million construction project will also include a new state-of-the-art fixed-base operator (FBO) terminal. Construction on the new FBO terminal is expected to begin this spring and will take approximately 12-18 months.

The Airport Fuels Economic Development and Funds City Services

These announcements are vitally important to our community because our airport is a lucrative asset that differentiates the City of McKinney from other cities in Collin County, making McKinney an enticing location for economic development. The airport also benefits the community to help provide city services and education dollars by the revenue it generates. In fact, in 2010, an economic study conducted by the University of North Texas found that McKinney National Airport generates more than $44 million annually in economic impact to McKinney. The single biggest beneficiary of the property tax valuation of the aircraft at McKinney National Airport is the McKinney Independent School District which receives more than $1 million annually in ad valorem tax revenue, which funds the cost of education of more than 100 students a year.

Award-Winning FBO

Not to be left out, the McKinney Air Center, which provides fuel and other services to aircraft at McKinney National Airport, was named best in the nation in the 2017 Pilots’ Choice Awards by for the third time in its four-year existence. This is a prestigious award in the field of aviation because the Pilots’ Choice awards are voted on by pilots and aviation professionals directly using the FBOs, and provide the most accurate measure of the services provided. The FBO was also named Top Star FBO and Top Regional U.S. FBO in the South Central region.

All this progress is years in the making and I look forward to ushering in a new era for the McKinney National Airport as the city implements an aggressive and forward-thinking master plan.