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McKinney National Airport Poised For Commercial Real Estate Growth

The city of McKinney is updating its master plan for its growing executive airport, and the future includes potential commercial development on over 200 acres.

Image of future McKinney Airport Terminal.

In January, the city of McKinney closed on 190 acres of property adjacent to the airport’s eastern border. On the west side, the airport owns about 45 acres for development.

“We know our future could offer additional growth opportunities and our city council is being very strategic about the ability to grow,” McKinney City Manager Paul Grimes said. “We can’t build hangar space fast enough. We are in a growth mode.”

As commercial development has marched northward, McKinney National Airport has grown as a preferred location for corporate aircraft landings and takeoffs. The airport had 132,258 operations in fiscal 2017 (one landing and one takeoff equals two operations) and is forecast to have about 150,000 operations in 2018.

The city envisions a wide variety of commercial real estate development on the newly acquired eastern property, from office to manufacturing.

“A good portion of it is capable of being developed for aeronautical uses,” Airport Director Ken Carley said. “It’s an exciting opportunity.”

Demand on the western side is also strong, he said. “At the rate we are going, in the next five or six years, we are going to have projects committed to most all of that [on the west].” 

The airport’s new 20-year master plan should help carry the airport into the future — a future that is looking strong.

A $16M, 17K SF terminal building and 40K SF hangar are under construction. The terminal, which will also include airport administrative offices, should be finished in the third quarter of 2019. It will replace an existing 10K SF terminal that the airport has outgrown. The new facility is expected to provide improved amenities for corporate passengers, including a larger lobby area.

The hangar, scheduled for completion in early 2019, will be capable of holding four large corporate jets or up to about 10 smaller planes. The airport expects to reserve some space in the new hangar for transient operators that seek overnight storage.

“We have a number of hangars that are full to capacity; we have aircraft on waiting lists. We have verbal commitments already for the hangar that is under construction. We are working through leases with a few people,” Carley said.

The airport has one 7,000-foot runway that is 150 feet wide, and the master plan shows the potential for a second parallel runway at some point in the future. The city also will preserve an option for commercial flights in the future — an option that would involve decisions by other entities, namely commercial airlines that would need to express an interest in serving passengers from McKinney and the Federal Aviation Administration.

In the meantime, the airport has been reducing the amount of funds it draws from the city’s general fund as airport revenue rises. The airport drew about $600K from the general fund last fiscal year and $400K for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. When the next fiscal year begins in October, it will budget a contingency of $200K from the city's general fund, followed by no draw in the subsequent year.

“The revenue streams are all increasing, and we will have no problem standing on our own without that support,” Carley said.

The airport’s $8M budget is funded mainly through revenue that comes from taxes paid on corporate aircraft, rental fees for hangars and revenue from fixed-base operator fuel sales.

The city is expected to finish its update to the master plan in early October at which time it will go to the city council and the FAA for approval.

“It’s exciting to be involved with an airport that has so much demand,” Carley said. “We have an incredible sponsor in the city of McKinney. They are committed to developing the airport; it’s one of the council’s strategic goals, and it’s clear from their history of managing it that they are invested in it, and it has paid dividends.”