McKinney National Airport is getting a $15 million state grant to extend its runway by 1,500 feet and give its commuter pilots more room to take off.
The Texas Department of Transportation announced the grant Friday after several years of planning to expand the takeoff strip from 7,000 to 8,500 feet.
The city of McKinney will also contribute money to partially match the grant, the city said. Construction is expected to start in 2021.
McKinney is one of several smaller airports in North Texas that cater to mostly private aviation companies. Private pilots use it for their own aircraft, and companies such as Texas Instruments and Toyota Motor Corp. house corporate planes there and use it as an alternative to crowded fields at DFW International Airport and Dallas Love Field. There are also several private aviation companies at McKinney Airport.
McKinney Airport director Ken Carley said the extended runway will allow companies to fly planes with larger loads.
“Right now planes can be restricted in terms of how much fuel or cargo they are carrying,” Carley said. “It’s not really about flying new types of planes because we can fly about every kind of aircraft that would fly here.”
For comparison, the seven runways at DFW International Airport range from 9,000 to 13,400 feet.
McKinney is a single-runway airport but handles more than 156,000 landings and takeoffs a year, about 30% more than in 2016. Many of those takeoffs and landings include student pilots and instructors. The 745-acre airport opened in 1979.
Carley said the state grant shows that McKinney is an important alternative airport for the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with DFW International and Dallas Love Field serving the major airlines and Fort Worth Alliance Airport as a cargo hub.
The new grant will be a welcome influx of cash after plans failed to expand McKinney Airport into the region’s next airline destination. In the 1970s, the FAA suggested that McKinney could host the region’s third major commercial airport, serving the fast-growing northern part of the metropolitan area. But voters there rejected a $50 million bond to build a new airport facility.
SOURCE: The Dallas Morning News