RMA negotiates lease for about half of NTRA’s largest hangar

Herald Democrat

By Michael Hutchins

December 15, 2016

In the 1960s North Texas Regional Airport – Perrin Field’s alert hangar was constantly ready to respond to threats against the U.S. With its four large bay doors that were designed for quick release and interceptor aircraft, the hangar provided a quick military response in the event of an emergency along the country’s southern border.

While the golden days of Perrin Field’s military past may be a distant memory, the alert hangar may soon see new life.

Officials with the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority voted unanimously Thursday to authorize contract negotiations with A4L LLC for the lease of half of the alert hangar. Previously, A4L has leased out aircraft including the titular Douglas A4 Skyhawk for government and commercial contracts.

“The plan for A4L is to continue and expand to those operations and conduct maintenance on King Air Leer Jets and other turbine-powered aircraft,” Jim Wimberly, representing Texas Aviation Partners, said.

The lease would include nearly 29,000 square feet of hangar, office and shop space along the northern side of the hangar. Under preliminary agreements, the hangar will be used to store, maintain and refurbish aircraft. On its website, A4L lists services including contract flights, film and stunt photography, and airshows.

“These professional aircraft are ready for contract to specialized operators and military contractors,” the website said, describing A4L’s services alongside pictures of the Skyhawk in flight. “These aircraft have recent experience as target drone tugs, and as mock dog-fight/aggressor training simulation.”

Negotiations will be handled by Texas Aviation Partners, who provide marketing and operational services to NTRA. Stephen Alexander, a partner with TAP, said A4L previously sub-rented a smaller box hangar at NTRA, thus making it one of the first businesses to expand at NTRA since TAP was contracted for services earlier this year.

Alexander said the alert hangar has had several small tenants over the years, but not to the size of A4L. Over the past few years, Alexander said the building has been vacant. Issues with renting the hangar included its remote location, size and age, he said.

“Everyone considers this a hard rent,” he said.

Alexander said he and other officials hope that the large space would give the company room to grow and, with time, expand into the full building space. Additionally, he said by adding another tenant to the space, he hopes that it will generate additional interest in the airport.

When asked about any upgrades to the site, Board Chairman Clyde Siebman said the RMA will pay to put up a partition wall separating the building in half for the lease. Any other upgrades and improvements to the site would be at the expense of the lessee, he said.

Siebman said it is too soon to announce the details of any agreement, but said a draft will likely be presented to the board in January.

Source: http://www.heralddemocrat.com/news/20161215/rma-negotiates-lease-for-about-half-of-ntras-largest-hangar

Perrin Field celebrates 75 years


By: Brittany Harlow

December 14, 2016

Denison, Texas

A reception was held at North Texas Regional Airport – Perrin Field on Wednesday to celebrate 75 years in Grayson County.

“I’m just happy to see 75 years,” MSgt. (R) Charles “Charlie” Brown said. “That means I’m getting awful old.”

Brown, who currently serves as president of the Perrin Air Force Base Museum, was stationed at Perrin Air Force Base from 1963 to 1968.

He tells us the first troops arrived in early December 1941, before Pearl Harbor.

“They brought them in out of the railroad station at Pottsboro and hauled them out here on trucks,” Brown said. “And they loaded the barracks and a lot of the barracks still weren’t finished and there was no heating or anything like that and that’s December here in Texas.”

After the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, Perrin Air Force Base was one of the first basic flight training schools to become operational.

More than 10,000 pilots graduated from Perrin Field during World War II and the Korean War.

Brown said the Apollo astronauts trained at Perrin, as well, back in the sixties.

“They had to go through survival school then fly the F102 at supersonic before they qualified to go to Houston,” Brown said.

After the base closed in 1971, it became the Grayson County Airport, and was renamed North Texas Regional Airport in 2007. Texas Aviation Partners took over managing the airport in May 2016.

“It truly is a diamond in the rough and we at Texas Aviation Partners are excited about getting involved and doing everything we can to promote this great asset and make it a real job creator for Grayson County,” Mabe said.

The two runway, 1410-acre facility is now home to dozens of businesses and corporate and private aircraft, including the U.S. Aviation Academy.

“We have the schools in here and repair shops for aircraft,” Brown said. “People come from all over the united states to get the airplanes repaired here.”

While active U.S. military are no longer training at NTRA-Perrin Field, the flight school is still training pilots from friendly governments through the Air Force.

“I believe Nigeria is in right now doing some transition training into a Cessna Caravan that the flight academy bought in order to support that mission,” Mabe said.

The U.S. Aviation Academy submitted a bid to bring U.S. Air Force initial flight training back to the airport last December, but the ten-year, $200 million estimated contract has yet to be awarded.

Mabe said TAP is excited to take NTRA- Perrin Field to the next level, which includes the Cavanaugh Flight museum taking over a hangar and an announcement regarding another company coming soon.

“Perrin Field has such a rich history and played an important part in our Nation’s Defense for decades,” TAP founding partner Stephen Alexander said. “We look forward to honoring that history, while spearheading the forward progress of the airport and its development for the next seventy-five years.”

Source: http://www.kxii.com/content/news/Perrin-Field-celebrates-75-years-406636495.html

Management company to operate North Texas Regional Airport


By Sarah Humphrey

April 20, 2016

SHERMAN, Texas — Grayson County Commmissioners voted Tuesday to pay Texas Aviation Partners $10,000 per month to operate North Texas Regional Airport.

“This is again a step in the process of moving our airport from an old retired Air Force base to a thriving successful general aviation airport,” Grayson County judge Bill Magers said.

The contract begins in May and is scheduled to last five years.

Commissioners said they are still looking for an airport manager, a position that has been vacant since Mike Shahan left to manage airport in Galveston.

Source: http://www.kxii.com/home/headlines/Management-company-to-operate-North-Texas-Regional-Airport-376386991.html

Pearland Regional Airport to add hangars

Houston Chronicle

By Katherina Feser

December 28, 2015

Pearland Regional Airport has kicked off a plan to improve the airport starting with new hangars.

Texas Aviation Partners, the airport’s management team, has partnered with real estate development and design-build firm Western LLC on the development.

The initial work consists of building a 23-unit hangar complex and demolishing two existing facilities. The project is part of a broader plan to add more aviation facilities, Western LLC said in a news release.

Texas Aviation Partners and Western LLC began taking reservations for the hangars earlier this year.

The airport, at 17622 Airfield Lane, is about 30 miles southeast of downtown Houston.

Source: http://www.chron.com/business/real-estate/article/Pearland-Regional-Airport-to-add-hangars-6724497.php

Pearland airport expands to meet high demand

Houston Chronicle

By Annette Baird

November 20, 2015

Pearland Regional Airport will begin building new hangars in December as part of a multiphase expansion plan to meet growing demand from the private fliers for an upgraded, less-congested facility.

The project is a joint venture between airport management company Texas Aviation Partners, real estate development and design firm Western LLC and airport owner Clover Acquisition Corp. The first phase will add 23 units that will be available to buy or lease for smaller aircraft.

The $1.5 million hangar facility, slated to be ready for occupancy in March, comes on the heels of recent upgrades to the terminal, which now features a lounge area, Wi-Fi, a conference room and a pilot’s lounge equipped with flight-planning tools, coffee and snacks. The airport also offers jet-fuel service, a courtesy car, ramp tie-down parking and a rental car service and can provide limo, taxi and hotel arrangements.

“We really tried to put the building blocks in place so all the basics the public needs and wants are there,” said Stephen Alexander of Texas Aviation Partners. “We’re aiming to offer first-class facilities.”

Alexander said the goal is to capitalize on increased demand for airplane traffic for recreation, corporate and commercial use by offering an accessible, affordable and safe alternative, while improving services for tenants and pilots.

“The growth that is happening at Hobby and Ellington (airports) is causing a squeeze on general aviation and pilots for small aircraft,” Alexander said. “The price to fly is going through the roof.”

The larger airports, he added, are also very busy.

Location important

Alexander pointed to the Pearland airport’s location, within minutes of main roadways such as Interstate 45 and Sam Houston Parkway, which offer access to the Texas Medical Center and Houston’s Energy Corridor.

Alexander said the airport offers some of the lowest fuel prices, with additional discounts for tenants.

Located at 17622 Airfield Lane, the 320-acre airport was built as a private facility in 1940 by the George R. Brown family. The airfield came into public use in 1950. In 1997, Clover Acquisition acquired the property, and it became known as Clover Field. It was renamed Pearland Regional Airport in 2003. Texas Aviation Partners, a private company that provides a range of services from airport and terminal management to consulting, took over management in June 2013.

The airport, which has one 5,000-foot runway to accommodate up to medium-size jet aircraft, accommodates more than 200 small aircraft, has 65 hangars and counts an average of 27,500 takeoffs and landings in a year.

Second phase planned

Construction of larger custom-built hangars for purchase, the second phase of the development, is expected to get under way early next year.

Cassidy Berenato, director of marketing and business development for Texas Aviation Partners, said the jump in the number of hangars means they can increase capacity to store, fuel and maintain more planes.

Plans include replacing the perimeter fencing and security gates. The airport also plans to develop office, commercial and retail space and areas for light industries associated with aviation.

The airport also is involved in a feasibility study for a new road to access the facility, possibly from Telephone Road, Dixie Farm Road or Pearland Parkway.

For information, visit www.flypearland.com

Source: http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/bayarea/news/article/Pearland-airport-expands-to-meet-high-demand-6646713.php#photo-8991432

San Marcos Regional Airport looks to raise profile in FY 2016

Community Impact Newspaper

By Brett Thorne

September 16, 2015

Since August 2014 the San Marcos Regional Airport has changed its name and undergone a series of capital improvements aimed at expanding its capacity. Now Texas Aviation Partners, or TAP, the private company that manages the airport, is hoping to elevate the facility’s profile to attract more business.

The airport has historically operated at a deficit averaging about $20,000 in each of the past three fiscal years. But an Aug. 18 council vote to restructure the Airport Commission—the appointed body that advises council on airport matters—and allow TAP to increase fees at the facility in fiscal year 2015-16, which begins Oct. 1, may be a signal that business at the airport is cleared for takeoff, said TAP Co-founder Stephen Alexander.

Alexander said the fee increases, which apply to rentals of hangars, shelters and storage facilities at the airport, should help TAP turn the facility into a revenue-generating asset for the city. The next step will be to focus on promotion of the airport, he said.

“There are a lot of things cities do very, very well,” Alexander said. “Emergency services rank up there. When it comes to an enterprise fund, which the airport is, it’s supposed to make money. City government is not in the business of thinking like private enterprise and publicizing their product.”

Airport Control

The city’s Sunset Advisory Commission—an appointed group responsible for advising council on the necessity of various boards and commissions—recommended council dissolve the Airport Commission. Chuck Nash, chairman of the Airport Commission, agreed with that recommendation, conceding in a letter to City Council that TAP is best suited to “run the airport like a business.”

“I would like for the group that’s getting paid to run the airport [to] run the airport and not have to go to a commission and legal and then council for a lease amendment,” Council Member Ryan Thomason said at the Aug. 18 meeting. “We’re putting too many obstacles … in the way of being productive.”

The potential dissolution of the commission caused concern among some council members, who feel the city needs to maintain some level of involvement with what many officials consider a major asset in the area.

“I like the idea of letting TAP run the business of the airport, but I’d like to add that we want the Airport Commission to not run the day-to-day [business], because we have [TAP] for that, but to be involved in the promotion of the airport,” Council Member Jane Hughson said.

The airport’s revenue comes from three sources: property rentals, collecting a percentage of revenue from jet fuel dispensed at the facility and collecting 1 percent of all revenue from business conducted at the airport. The decision to allow the increase to rental rates is one step on the road to running the airport more like a business, Alexander said.

Council opted to keep the restructured commission in place and plans to reassess operations at the airport in 2016.

Airport’s Economic Effects

TAP Marketing Director Cassidy Berenato said she thinks most San Marcos residents are not familiar with the airport—a city-owned asset similar to a public library or park—because they do not use it on a regular basis. The airport does not offer airliner service like Austin-Bergstrom International Airport or San Antonio International Airport, so most of the population never interacts with it, she said.

“If you don’t know anything about general aviation airports, all you see is, ‘Those must be some rich guys out there using all my tax dollars so they can go play on the weekend,’” Berenato said. “That couldn’t be further from the truth when you really get down to it.”

Last year there were 51,189 takeoffs and landings at SMRA. Many of those were from companies based in San Marcos or with locations here, Berenato said.

In addition to recreational aviation, the airport also provides local businesses—McCoy’s Building Supply and Ingram Readymix are two San Marcos-based companies that lease hangars at SMRA—with a major advantage over nearby communities, Berenato said.

McCoy’s Building Supply CEO Brian McCoy said his company keeps two aircraft at the airport and uses them weekly. McCoy said the amount of time it takes to fly out of SMRA helps ensure his management team’s travel is as efficient as possible.

Flying out of ABIA, for instance, would require at least 90 more minutes because of travel on I-35 and passing through secured access, Alexander said. Congestion at SMRA is virtually non-existent because of the relatively low number of daily takeoffs and landings compared with an international airport with passenger airline service.

“I can’t even fathom [having to go to ABIA or SAIA],” McCoy said. “We try to get [to SMRA] a few minutes before takeoff, but they’ve already got the plane inspected and fueled. It’s just a matter of closing the doors and going.”

During the economic downturn in the late 2000s, McCoy said constant face-to-face contact with the company’s 2,000 employees and 83 stores throughout the southern United States—facilitated by air travel through SMRA—helped the company survive the tumult.

Regional Airport

This summer the idea of a regional airport serving San Antonio and Austin picked up steam, reviving a conversation that TAP Co-founder Jim Wimberley said has been happening for years.

SMRA, with its existing runways and proximity to both cities, would be a logical place for a new regional airport, but Wimberley said he is not sure the concept holds much weight. SAIA and ABIA both have potential to expand far beyond their current capacity, he said.

“In theory, the city of Austin will never need a new airport,” he said. “Same for San Antonio. Why do you [talk about regional airports here] other than it’s a nice little interesting buzzword?”

Hughson said discussion of SMRA’s regional importance has been happening at the city level for decades.

“Kathy Morris was mayor from ’88 to ’96, and she was talking about what a jewel we have in the airport and what future potential is there,” she said.

Source: https://communityimpact.com/austin/commerce/2015/09/16/san-marcos-regional-airport-looks-to-raise-profile-in-fy-2016/

GTU Jet lands at Georgetown Airport

Williamson County Sun

By Matt Loeschman

August 19, 2015

Georgetown Municipal Airport’s newest fixed-base operator is also its largest. GTU Jet opened June 1, rebranding itself to distinguish it from the former Georgetown Jet Center, which had declared bankruptcy.

The business is now owned by GAABT Aviation, Inc., “who have fully invested in this business,” said Ken Mabe, GTU Jet acting general manager. “They look at Georgetown and the growth happening in this community as a serious opportunity.”

GTU Jet provides administrative and logistical support for clients and their planes at the airport.

“They may need a place to park,” Mr. Mabe said. “A client might want their aircraft out on the ramp at 7 a.m. fully fueled and ready to go. There are many services we can provide.”

Other services include catering, cleaning, ground transportation arrangements and more. Aircraft can be fueled and get an oil check. GTU Jet offers pilots a “crew car” to drive into the city if they are experiencing a layover.

“From a customer perspective, if you are flying into Georgetown, it is very streamlined,” said Cassidy Berenato, marketing and business development director for Texas Aviation Partners, an aviation consulting firm based in San Marcos that is managing GTU Jet.

“Every day, we are adding more amenities and more services.” Mr. Mabe said there has historically never been a “strong” fixed-base operator at Georgetown Municipal Airport.

“In order to properly service aircraft in the way the customer expects, you have got to have good facilities,” Mr. Mabe said. “They are expecting a certain level of service that didn’t exist at this airport in the past. But with our investors willing to step up, we will change that.”

Texas Aviation Partners, established in 2007, manages San Marcos Regional Airport as well as Pearland Regional Airport south of Houston. “Georgetown is really our third big location,” Ms. Berenato said.

Prior to June 1, GTU Jet took time to get its services and amenities in place, Ms. Berenato said. The business occupies six buildings, including multiple large hangars, in addition to 21 T-hangars that were all occupied Monday.

Mr. Mabe said company investors have put thousands of dollars into renovations and upgrades. A thorough evaluation was completed before rebranding to determine the highest priorities.

Leaks have been sealed, air conditioning systems have been repaired, fire suppression systems have been brought up to code and hangar doors have been repaired.

“We are making sure that safety is paramount,” Mr. Mabe said.

GTU Jet offers both jet fuel and aviation gasoline, or “avgas,” the two types of fuel used to power aircraft.

Both Mr. Mabe and Ms. Berenato are pleased to be operating in a city where growth is on the horizon.

“Georgetown is attractive to investors across the nation,” Mr. Mabe said. “We have consistent traffic coming through.”

The company is trying to attract businesses to occupy portions of Building 3 and Building 4, each of which has substantial office space adjacent to the hangar.

So what’s in a name? GTU is the navigational identifier for Georgetown’s airport.

“You plug ‘KGTU’ into the GPS and it leads you here,” Mr. Mabe said. “Those letters mean a lot to pilots.”

Source: http://archives.etypeservices.com/Williamson1/Magazine95602/Full/files/assets/common/downloads/page0006.pdf

Airport receives $350k, new name

San Marcos Daily Record

David Short, Executive Editor

August 5, 2014

It’s now official. San Marcos Municipal Airport is now San Marcos Regional Airport, a name change that better reflects the facilities mission and purpose in Central Texas. The change has been in the works for some time but had to wait for final approval from both the Federal Aviation Administration and Texas Department of Transportation.

“The new name and corresponding logo are part of the overall branding effort laid out in the airport’s business plan,” Cassidy Berenato, director of marketing and administration, said. “We surveyed airport tenants and users and spoke extensively with stakeholders in the community before choosing ‘San Marcos Regional’ as the name. We’ve received a ton of fantastic press over the past year thanks in large part to the AOPA Regional Fly-in and Redbird’s $1.00 AvGas promotion. Pilots are more familiar with our airport now more than ever.”

And with that familiarity has come more demand for hangar space at the fast-growing airport. One of two major projects that will begin in early 2015 will be more hangars.

“The demand for hangars at San Marcos Regional Airport is off the charts. We have a long wait-list and receive calls almost daily from pilots who want to base here,” Berenato said.

Recognizing the ongoing growth and how the city, through Texas Aviation Partners which manages the airport under contract with the city, has handled the growth, TxDOT last week awarded $350,000 to the airport for additional security fencing and access gates.

“The main goal of the fence is to increase safety. Requiring a code to access the Aircraft Operating Area prevents accidental incursions and limits the number of vehicles operating among aircraft,” Berenato said.

At the same time, the city is “contributing almost $100,000 for parking lot construction.”

“Public parking has been sorely needed at the airport for a long time,” Berenato said. “It makes a lot of sense for us to complete these projects side-by-side.”

Ready for takeoff: San Marcos airport gets federal, state boost


FEBRUARY 20, 2014

The San Marcos Municipal Airport was awarded a $5.77 million facelift in federal and state monies to improve pavement and lighting at the facility, particularly to its ILS (instrument landing system) runway.

Stephen Alexander of Texas Aviation Partners, the private company which manages the airport, said the award would be used to resurface and repair runway 13-31, the ILS runway used by pilots during inclement weather, and to widen the airport’s entrance at State Highway 21.

“These funds help put the San Marcos Airport on a glide path to a better future,” said U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett in a statement. “Continued improvements will allow the airport to better serve Central Texas fliers.”

The airport’s $5.77 million was approved by the Texas Transportation Commission at its January meeting, as part of a $17 million grant used for airport improvements across Texas, according to the state agency.

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) awards federal and state funding for capital improvement projects and to help develop and establish Texas airports as authorized by the federal Airport and Airway Improvement Act and the state’s Aviation Facilities Development and Financial Assistance Act, according to the Texas Transportation Commission, which operates under TxDOT.

San Marcos’ airport took the largest chunk of the $17 million grant, and will use $5,470,500 for the pavement and lighting improvements and $300,000 to widen the entrance road.

“We’re always striving to seek grant dollars that are available to improve the airport,” Alexander said, adding that the facility is a vital component to the economic vibrancy of the city and potentially the region.

In the past three years, the San Marcos Municipal Airport has been awarded funding for major improvements to include the traffic control tower, which opened in 2011; and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will install Terminal Radar Display safety equipment at the airport in February, Doggett said.

This year, TxDOT expects to provide about $60 million in funding for planning, construction and maintenance at community airports, according to state agency officials. Approximately 275 community airports in Texas are eligible for funding.

A project consultant will be selected this winter for the improvements at the San Marcos Municipal Airport, TxDOT officials said. The project costs will be funded through the city of San Marcos and TxDOT’s Aviation Facilities Grant Program.

San Marcos will provide a ten percent local match to the state and federal dollars.

Regional event brings AOPA to members

For many pilots, there’s no better way to spend a Saturday than enjoying all things general aviation. That’s the experience AOPA is bringing to members and aviation enthusiasts nationwide with a series of six regional AOPA Fly-Ins and a special AOPA Homecoming in Frederick, Md.

AOPA Fly-InsThe AOPA Fly-Ins are built around the association’s members, but everyone is welcome to join in the fun. Each gathering will begin with a traditional pancake breakfast and town hall discussion with AOPA President Mark Baker. Baker will talk about the big issues affecting general aviation, discuss key AOPA initiatives, and answer questions from the audience.

Following breakfast, there will be opportunities for AOPA members to meet and mingle with one another and AOPA staff, take part in educational and safety seminars, and explore aircraft displays and aviation exhibits. Various flying activities and clinics will be offered, and for those who aren’t yet pilots, each event will include a learn-to-fly area.

There is no charge for admission, and as a special thank-you, AOPA members will receive a complimentary lunch

“Each Fly-In is going to be a full day of fun,” said Baker. “I love to spend time at the airport with my fellow pilots, and I’m excited that we can bring this GA experience to so many different parts of the country. We want to get more involved with our members at the grassroots level, and I can’t think of a more enjoyable way to spend time together than surrounded by airplanes!”

The regional events were inspired by AOPA members who asked how they could get more involved with their association and meet other members who live and fly nearby.

“Forging a strong community is good for pilots and good for general aviation, so when members came to us looking for ways to help support airports and build their own community ties, we knew we needed to get involved,” Baker said.

The debut year of AOPA Fly-Ins will be highlighted with a special AOPA Homecoming event to mark the return of the annual Frederick Fly-Ins and to celebrate the association’s seventy-fifth anniversary. On Oct. 4, AOPA will open the doors of its Frederick headquarters to welcome home members from across the country and around the world.

In addition to the Frederick event, six AOPA Fly-Ins are scheduled.

San Marcos Municipal Airport (HYI), San Marcos, Texas—April 26

Indianapolis Regional Airport (MQJ), Indianapolis, Ind.—May 31

Plymouth Airport (PYM), Plymouth, Mass.—July 12

Spokane Felts Field (SFF), Spokane, Wash.—Aug. 16

Chino Airport (CNO), Chino, Calif.—Sept. 20

Malcolm McKinnon Airport (SSI), Brunswick, Ga.—Nov. 8

“These are some of the friendliest airports in the country, and they’ve promised a warm welcome for AOPA members, whether you fly in or drive,” said Baker.

Each airport is near other historical or cultural attractions, making the AOPA Fly-Ins a great anchor for a weekend getaway the whole family will enjoy.

More details about the events as well as information to help you plan your visit are available online. Information about sponsoring or exhibiting at the AOPA Fly-Ins will be available in February.