McKinney community leaders and local dignitaries boarded three aircraft Thursday and flew into the bright blue Texas sky after enjoying a smooth takeoff from the new 7,002-foot runway at Collin County Regional Airport.

The three planes – a corporate jet, a charter plane and a private jet – were the first to take off from the new runway at the airport following a brief ceremony with elected officials.

“As the airport continues to add state-of-the art equipment and amenities like the new air traffic control tower and a wider, heavier duty runway, the impact it has on economic growth in the region will continue to grow,” said McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller. “Now we are looking to the operational future of Collin County Regional Airport as it serves to help create an even more prosperous Collin County and North Texas.”

Officials, including representatives from the office of U.S. Congressman Sam Johnson, Collin County Commissioners Court and McKinney City Council, along with mayors and city managers from Collin County cities, enjoyed the first flights to take off from the new runway.

The runway was constructed at 7,002 feet long and 150 feet wide with a weight-bearing capacity of 450,000 pounds. It is the largest in single development project in Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) Aviation history.

The width and weight-bearing capacity can accommodate larger, heavier aircraft, including commercial jets.

Other additional new projects at the airport include the relocation of FM546 using aviation grants to accommodate the runway and a future extension, a new air traffic control tower and a recently unveiled regional incentive for other cities and entities in Collin County.