The city of McKinney in Texas, US, has taken over the operations of Collin County Regional Airport for a purchase price of $25m, a move expected to drive additional economic development.
As part of the takeover, operations have commenced at a new city-operated Fixed Base Operator (FBO) McKinney Air Center, which will provide fuel and ground services for aircraft at the airport.
McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller said: "This represents a tremendous opportunity for the city to build on the airport’s role as a driver of economic development for McKinney.
"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 travelling to North Texas."
McKinney Air Center will provide a wide range of services including 24-hour fuel and ramp services, catering, courtesy crew cars, flight planning and weather facilities, on-site auto rental, US Customs on-site, and private crew lounge, sleep room and showers.
In addition, an FAA control tower and a fire station equipped with specialised crash rescue equipment and specially trained aircraft fire and rescue firefighters will strengthen the safety for airport users.
Funds that were going to an outside vendor for FBO services and the revenues to be generated by the airport together are expected to erase the current $600,000 annual subsidy the city has provided to the airport.
Collin County regional airport director Ken Wiegand said that fuel sales are a major revenue source at the airport.
"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," Wiegand said.
The city of McKinney will fund the purchase through the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) funds already owed to the city for airport improvements and approximately $17.25m in bonds that will be retired from airport revenue.
McKinney Economic Development Corporation president and CEO Jim Wehmeier said that by owning and operating the airport, the city can package hangar space, fuel and other incentives in a way that could not be accomplished under the previous system.
"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," Wehmeier said.