Taking off: Gainesville Municipal Airport seeing growth

A Piper Seminole twin-engine plane takes off at Gainesville Municipal Airport on Jan. 8.

A recent vote by Gainesville City Council members is helping pave the way for more growth at Gainesville Municipal Airport.

Airport Director David “Dave” Vinton said Friday, Jan. 17, that water and sewer lines will be installed at the south end of the airport, 2300 Airport Road, “as soon as the weather allows.”

The lines will provide access to utilities for future hangar development.

On Tuesday, Jan. 7, members of the Gainesville City Council unanimously agreed to award a bid to Lynn Vessels Construction LLC for $64,940 for utility expansion at GMA.

Ward 3 Councilman Keith Clegg was absent.

The expansion project is going to be funded with the help of the Texas Department of Transportation’s Routine Airport Maintenance Program grant. The airport will only have to pay 50% of the cost with the grant, according to Vinton. The airport capital fund will cover that half.

City Manager Barry Sullivan said the utility expansion was “not planned for.”

There are two people interested in developing near the utilities, Sullivan said.

Last year, five new hangars were built at the airport. Two more are under construction and an additional two are expected to be built this spring, according to Vinton.

“We only had nine box hangars to start with so we doubled our box hangars,” Vinton said.

A 32-hangar project is also in the works at the airport and is expected to be brought to city council

Tuesday, Jan. 21, according to city officials.

“This is a positive non-planned event,” Sullivan said. “That [the utility expansion] opens the airport for an additional 70 hangars to be in. It’s a pretty cool deal.”

Sullivan said the city is working to ensure the infrastructure is in place to meet the airport’s needs.

“We do think it will continue to grow,” Sullivan said.

All monies that are derived at or by the airport stay at the airport, Vinton said.

Vinton estimated the airport saw 10,000 planes last year. Of those, 4,415 fueled up, he said.

He said the airport sold 335,000 gallons of fuel in 2019 which brought in $1.1 million in fuel revenues. In 2018, the airport sold around the same amount of fuel and brought in $1 million in sales. In 2017, the airport sold 300,000 gallons with sales totaling $840,000.

Vinton said GMA ranks as one of the top 10 airports across the nation that serve larger jets with low fuel prices.

As of Friday, fuel was $3.80 per gallon for self-serve and $2.99 per gallon for full-service jet refueling.

Vinton attributes the airport’s lower lease rates and the “ease of flying in and out of” the airport as reasons the airport is growing.

“We’re poised for growth,” Vinton said. “We’re just in the right place. With the amount of people that are moving into the Dallas-Fort Worth area, even if just 1% of them are pilots, there’s no hangars available.”

Most of the airports in the metroplex are already full and it’s “getting to the point” where it’s cheaper to build a hangar than to rent from somebody, according to Vinton.

Vinton said Sullivan and the city council realize the importance of the airport to the community and the county and for that he is grateful.

“We are the front door to the community for folks coming in,” Vinton said. He added the airport has gradually improved its indoor facilities, too. “You can go to a lot of small airports and it’s nothing like this. It is really pretty nice for a town our size to have this. Our goal is quick, friendly service and clean restrooms.”

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