In a bold move to spur additional economic development, the City of McKinney today took over operations at Collin County Regional Airport. The change included a new city-operated Fixed Base Operator (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. With more than 20 years of experience as an FBO General Manager, Jaraczewski brings an in-depth knowledge of industry trends and offers valuable insights on opportunities for new growth and business expansion. While the FBO General Manager at Executive Air in Green Bay, Wisconsin, he was able to increase revenue and expand facilities. His strategies for marketing, advertising and public relations resulted in being ranked the #1 East Central FBO, the #1 STAR FBO and the #5 Overall Top U.S. FBO, and has received multiple Safety First awards throughout his career.
McKinney Air Center will offer a wide 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.
“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.
“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 McKinney airport is a major corporate magnet, attracting companies like Texas Instruments, Electronic Data Systems (now HP) and Torchmark.
“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.”
McKinney, Texas, is unique by nature. 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. McKinney offers rolling hills, lush trees, a historic downtown square and unique neighborhoods and developments. The city ranks No. 2 on the Money Magazine Best Places to Live in America list. Visit the city’s website at www.mckinneytexas.org .