McKinney National Airport is soaring high these days, helping attract new business to the city and providing much-needed services to the companies that already call McKinney home.
The general aviation facility has come a long way since its modest beginnings 34 years ago as McKinney Municipal Airport. Today it boasts a 7,002- foot runway and is home to aircraft that travel the world.
In November 2013, the City of McKinney purchased all assets that it did not previously own at the airport and changed the name to McKinney National Airport. At the same time, the city began running the airport’s fixed base operator (FBO), now called McKinney Air Center. McKinney National Airport (known by its three-letter identifier TKI) is celebrating a first year full of accomplishments and looking ahead to a bright future.
New businesses announced they would relocate to the airport this year, such as Monarch Air, a leading provider of aviation services. Monarch officials said in May that they will lease a significant portion of a 53,750 square-foot hangar and office facility at the airport to offer a wide range of services, including aircraft maintenance, flight training, charter service, fleet management, acquisitions and sales for the private sector. In addition to Monarch Air, First Flight, a fully licensed air ambulance company that provides around-the-clock medical air transport for emergency and nonemergency patients from rural area hospitals, selected McKinney National Airport as its new headquarters.
“McKinney’s commitment to growing McKinney National Airport provided an outstanding opportunity for us to grow our business to meet the increasing demand for our firm’s services,” said Trey Sawtelle, Monarch Air president. “McKinney National Airport is an ideal location and facility for our operation. The staff is very passionate and knowledgeable about the airport, and I anticipate that Monarch Air and McKinney National Airport will continue to have a long and successful partnership as we grow together.”
McKinney National Airport is home to the fleets of many businesses that understand the competitive advantage they gain from using aviation as a tool of their trade. Among them are Fortune 500 and other well-run and rapidly growing companies that recognize McKinney National Airport’s standard of excellence and strategic location.
The name of the airport changed from Collin County Regional Airport to McKinney National Airport to reflect the new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) designation. The FAA categorized the facility as a "national" airport due to its high levels of activity, with many jets and multi-engine prop planes using the airport, and with approximately 200 totally based aircraft, including 30 jets. It is one of eight nationally categorized airports in Texas and one of 84 in the country.
Shown here is the newly renovated waiting area featuring a dynamic view of the runway.
“The name was changed to reflect the status of McKinney National Airport as one of the premier general aviation airports in the country,” said McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller. “Fewer than 3 percent of the nation’s 2,953 general aviation airports are considered national airports under criteria established by the Federal Aviation Administration.”
The airport’s fixed base operator (FBO), McKinney Air Center, offers a wide variety of services, including 24-hour fuel and ramp services, catering, courtesy and crew cars, flight planning and weather facilities, on-site auto rental, private crew lounge, sleep room and showers, and U.S. Customs on site. A contract FAA control tower – the Pete and Nancy Huff Air Traffic Control Tower – and a fire station equipped with specialized equipment and specially trained aircraft fire and rescue firefighters provide additional safety for airport users.
McKinney Air Center was named best in the nation in the 2014 Pilots’ Choice Awards by FltPlan.com. In addition, the air traffic control tower at McKinney National Airport was named No. 1 in the Pilots’ Choice Awards.
“We are honored to have received this prestigious award in such a short period of time. We take pride in McKinney Air Center and McKinney National Airport – the dedication of our staff and the City of McKinney has made our FBO the best in class in North Texas and the country,” said Mark Jaraczewski, general manager of McKinney Air Center. “Our customers will notice that we are also investing heavily in a continuous improvement program to further upgrade our facilities.”
Most recently, facility improvements come in the form of a new hangar. The McKinney Community Development Corporation (MCDC) announced that the board approved a $1.5 million project grant for the construction of a 15,000 square-foot transient hangar. The new hangar will accommodate aircraft of all sizes, from those used for general aviation to larger business jets.
Currently, all covered hangar space at McKinney National Airport is full. The new hangar will house high performance business aircraft for either long-term or short-term stays. The project is expected to be complete in a year. Added hangar space enhances the development of the airport and, in turn, tax collection for the city, McKinney Independent School District, Collin College and Collin County, and adds an additional economic development tool for the city.
“McKinney National Airport is a major attraction when recruiting corporations to McKinney,” said Jim Wehmeier, president and CEO of the McKinney Economic Development Corporation. “McKinney has a national airport with huge growth potential. Add to this our proximity to D/FW International Airport, and this makes McKinney an ideal location for companies that use a mix of corporate and commercial flights.”
Improvements like the new hangar will prepare the airport to welcome even more traffic, like corporate jets that do not want to compete with the influx of new commercial flights at Dallas Love Field, following the end of the Wright Amendment Oct. 13.
“Love Field will see a significant increase in air carrier operations following the repeal of the Wright amendment,” said Ken Wiegand, executive director of McKinney National Airport. “Corporate pilots do not want to be caught waiting behind commercial jetliners or delayed by crowded runways and taxiways.
“In major markets such as Chicago and New York, corporate jets use alternative airports to avoid conflicts with air carrier operations and improve efficiency,” said Wiegand. “We will see the same trend here at McKinney National Airport as Love Field gains new air carrier operations.”
In November, the airfield will be designated as B.B. Cope Airfield in honor of lifelong McKinney resident and community leader B.B. Cope. He was city manager from 1962-1968, mayor from 1977-1979, and served as postmaster from 1968 until his retirement in 1988. Cope was instrumental in early development of the airport and remained dedicated to its success.