City takes over operations at Collin County Regional Airport

McKINNEY, Texas — In a move designed to spur additional economic development, the city of McKinney has taken over operations at Collin County Regional Airport (TKI).

The change includes a new city-operated FBO, McKinney Air Center, which will provide fuel and ground services for aircraft at the airport.

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

The new FBO will be headed by Mark Jaraczewski, who has more than 20 years of experience as an FBO general manager.

McKinney Air Center will offer a variety of services, including 24-hour fuel and ramp services, catering, courtesy crew cars, flight planning and weather facilities, on-site auto rental, private crew lounge, sleep room and showers, and U.S. Customs on-site. An FAA Control Tower and a fire station equipped with specialized crash rescue equipment and specially trained aircraft fire and rescue firefighters provide additional safety for airport users, city officials note.

“Funds that were going to an outside vendor for FBO services, in addition to the revenues to be generated by the airport, are projected to erase the current $600,000 yearly subsidy the city has provided to the airport,” said City Manager Jason Gray. “That is good news for taxpayers.”

“Fuel sales are a major revenue source at the airport,” said Ken Wiegand, Collin County Regional Airport Director. “By providing that and ancillary services, the city will generate additional income that will pay debt and fund improvements to make the airport a gateway we can be proud of to lure additional corporate aircraft and business to our city.”

The $25 million purchase price will come from Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) funds already owed to the city for airport improvements and approximately $17.25 million in bonds that will be retired from airport revenue. The City of McKinney earned AAA bond rating this year which, along with low interest rates, means that even without additional improvements airport revenue will cover the debt payments, city officials noted.

“By owning and operating the airport, we can package hangar space, fuel and other incentives in a way that could not be accomplished under the previous system,” said Jim Wehmeier, President and CEO of the McKinney Economic Development Corporation. “As the airport generates more revenue, we can use that revenue to make further improvements that enhance the airport’s economic impact on our community.”

H. George Schuler began airport operations in 1979, when McKinney Municipal Airport opened.

“We were the pioneers,” Schuler said of those early times. “Since then, the airport has added a 7,000 foot, commercial-grade runway, it now has a state-of-the-art air traffic control tower and even U.S. Customs.”

Today, the airport is a major corporate magnet, attracting companies like Texas Instruments, Electronic Data Systems (now HP) and Torchmark, according to city officials.

“I feel like I have contributed a lot to growing this airport, which has been home to me and my family these past 35 years,” Schuler said. “It’s now time to turn the reins over, and I feel like there is a very bright future ahead.”

As one of the fastest-growing cities in the U.S., McKinney has a current population of more than 142,000. Incorporated in 1848, the city is located 30 miles north of Dallas and is the county seat of Collin County.

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  1. Rich says

    As much as I agree with you, if this does away with the city dumping 600 grand into the airport every year and turns that into a positive cash flow for the taxpayers then there will not be a cry from the taxpayers to “close down that expensive money pit and turn it into a park” (an even BIGGER money pit)

    I’d rather have a good airport run by the city than no airport run by no one.

    And I ‘m not ignoring the danger of worthless over paid city employees and their expensive pensions.

    • says

      Rich; Point taken, however, history thus far has shown when a “government” gets into the FBO business, beware! That said, generally this only applies to the smaller under utilized GA air[port where the FBO, and the airport, are often not justified.
      Your last sentence is on the mark!

  2. says

    Once a “govenment” gets wind, no pun intended, of the $$$ that is profitable from large volumes of Jet-A, OR some prior incompetent FBO losses their lease or just leaves/retires, this will become the constant “threat” to the private sector owned/operated FBO. Will service suffer – time will tell. As ANY airport authority tries to balance its budget, this trend will continue. BOTTOM LINE: If the FBO’s lease is short term or doesn’t provide a viable renewal option – say goodby to “Vern’s Flying Service”!

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