A private investor has purchased a small airport in Central Texas with the intent of turning it into a larger general aviation facility.
Ron Henriksen, a Texas businessman and pilot with strong ties to aviation, has purchased the privately owned, public-use Bird’s Nest Airport located approximately 12 miles outside of Austin. He recently constructed Houston Executive Airport, as well.
“Currently there is almost a total vacuum of GA facilities in the Austin area,” said airport spokesman Drew Coats. “When Austin-Mueller and Austin Executive Airports shut down, [GA] had no place to go. Hundreds of airplanes were displaced and now you have people who drive more than an hour to get to their airplanes. The other major airport, Austin-Bergstrom International, is a nice air carrier airport but it is not conducive to GA and there are something on the order of only 50 GA hangars on the field.”
Bird’s Nest Airport (6R4) sits on about 184 acres. According to information gleaned from Airnav.com, 14 aircraft are based at the airport, which sports a sod and asphalt runway. Currently there are 16 T-hangars on the property.
“It is our understanding that it was a very hot airport in its day, but not much has happened there in the last 20 years,” says Andrew Perry, who is director of both the Houston Executive and Bird’s Nest airports. “We’ve only owned the property for about two weeks now. We’re sifting through all the information and creating plans and evaluating our options.
“Our first priority is not the runway, but the access road to the airport,” Perry continued. “There are plans to build a road connecting the airport to a new four-lane state highway that runs past the facility. The airport is 12 minutes from the city. The location is key.”
The next priority will be paving the 2,272-foot runway.
“It is in pretty rough shape,” said Perry, adding that one of the options to be considered is lengthening the runway to accommodate larger general aviation aircraft. There also are plans to install additional airport lighting and a fuel facility.
“My immediate intent is to put some life back into the facility and to serve the general aviation crowd in Austin and Central Texas,” Henriksen noted. “I am looking forward to bringing those operations back to the area.”
This is not the first time that Henriksen has taken it upon himself to build an airport. In 2005 he purchased Air Rice Airport (78T) on the west side of Houston and redeveloped it into a general aviation field with an emphasis on corporate aviation. The airport, now known as Houston Executive Airport (TME), opened last year. The Austin airport has a similar mission, said Perry.
“There is a definite market here that is under served,” he said. “For several years the Texas Department of Aviation has been going through the process of trying to get an airport built to serve this market, but nothing came to fruition. Hopefully we can serve that market with Bird’s Nest.”
Perry noted that a separate website for Bird’s Nest would be created in the near future. Until then, for more information: HoustonExecutiveAirport.com.