City, county officials discuss airport plan

Kerrville-Kerr County Airport representatives at the joint meeting were, from left, Mark Mosier, board president; General Manager Mary Rohrer; and board members Jim Mans and Scott Schellhase.

The new Strategic Plan for the Kerrville-Kerr County Airport was the topic of a joint meeting held last week by the Kerrville City Council, the Kerr County Commissioners and the Joint Airport Board.

Airport Board President Mark Mosier and Airport Manager Mary Rohrer opened the meeting at the Dietert Center.

Mosier told the group they are very proud of the airport’s activities during the past year.

Kerrville-Kerr County Airport (KERV) is a full-service general aviation airport serving the Texas Hill Country. The airport and tenants provide airborne ambulance service, aircraft maintenance, Aircraft manufacturing, conference room, catering services, flight instruction, full-service FBO, hangar space, vehicle parking and rental cars.

Attending from City Council were Mayor Bill Blackburn, and councilpersons Gary Cochrane, Kim Clarkson, Judy Eychner and Delayne Sigerman. County officials attending included County Judge Robert Kelly, and Commissioners Jonathan Letz, and Don Harris.

Mosier said this new strategic plan was the product of more than three months’ work including data accumulation, review of mandates, interviews with internal stakeholders, workshops on strengths and weaknesses, and visits to “peer” airports.

This was a revision of a June 2019 plan.

“Then COVID-19 shut down most things, though now the economy seems to be re-opening,” Mosier said, adding they have been reducing costs and noting the economy’s effect on the airport’s FBO of reduced activity in fuel sales.

“They were high, then decreased, and now are increasing again.”

Other factors in their budgeting were the number of month-to-month leases on airport property; new owners for Mooney Aircraft; and leadership changes at the state level at Texas Department of Transportation airport/flight division. He said the daily operations under COVID also have many state office employees working from home so things are getting done more slowly.

He said they also heard from airplane owners that they aren’t supportive of income-producing capital expenditures. And any jobs they plan must be matched to available grants.

“TxDOT will not fund the rehabilitation of the crosswind runway,” Mosier said. “They’ve told us they’re working this year on the same budget amount they’ve had for the past 28 budget years.

He said the Texas department’s money comes down to them from the federal level; and private money is limited for facilities.

“But we do need to address deferred and continuing maintenance,” he said. “We have significant capital expenses required in the next five years.”

There’s a chart in the new plan, and he said that’s based on “funding from somewhere in the next five years.”

He said they examined all the leases for activities on the property; and found they’re not necessarily “leasor-friendly” and need to be reworded to require tenants to do more to maintain their facilities.

Mosier said the current interlocal agreement among the airport, city and county needs revisions. “Definitions are needed for what constituents consider ‘excess operating fund balance.’”

The airport board’s view is, if there’s any money left in the operating fund balance, they will not ask for city and county money. And, he added, “We foresee not asking in the foreseeable future.”

They retained the mission and vision statements; and the lists of “values” on which “safety” has always been number one. He stressed in the vision statement the description of “premier” services and facility; while promoting local and commercial economic development.

Leases and other

accomplishments

Rohrer talked to attendees about the airport leases they appraised to develop a “zone map” for the airport property. She said the result was a designation of five areas of the property; and appraisals of what their leases, rents and/or development should be.

She said they were part of the assistance early on with the economic development process that brought Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing to the company’s agreement to build a new manufacturing site here; and she and the board gained an understanding of how job creation can occur here.

She said all their available lease spaces are 100 percent occupied; and what’s left are land leases without buildings on them.

The only built business space there resulted from recently sub-dividing a larger maintenance space; and offering the new second space for another business.

They also have a second emergency medical services helicopter based at this airport, for Air Methods.

They are hoping for the addition of aviation service companies for “avionics” and parts by the end of the year, through the efforts of FBO owner Joe Kennedy.

“Services for our jet clientele is a huge deal for our airport,” she and Mosier said, so those clients come to Kerrville instead of San Antonio and Austin.

Under accomplishments, Rohrer cited infrastructure and finances. Specifically she listed improved signage, lighting, painting, landscaping, better use of long-term parking for less congestion at the terminal building.

“We have Hertz and Enterprise here. We upgraded the patio furniture at the terminal. The terminal slurry seal and stripping is complete.”

She said, under service levels, they updated the “Foreflight” program with more information including maps, hotels and restaurants so information about Kerrville is current on this page. They’ve also worked on rack cards, economic impact handouts, new logo, and a new pavement study that would help them accept aircrafts of heavier weights on the runways.

She thanked Kennedy for FBO improvements to the self-service fuel area, and said it’s an important relationship between the community and the FBO.

Under promotions, she said the airport website now is linked to the City of Kerrville server; giving leasing information, strategic plan, minimum standards, hangar waiting list, and drone notification forms. She said they are improving communication with the “pilot community” and have been promoting aviation at Tivy High School.

She said they tried to coordinate a Flying Diesel Drag Race event recently, to be held on the crosswind runway. They didn’t get FAA approval, so the event stalled. But they hope to reschedule it for March 2021 or earlier now.

Mooney CEO

Mosier capped the workshop with a live phone call from Jonathan Pollack, new CEO of Mooney Aircraft, who outlined his efforts so far to get more Kerrville workers back on the job there; and to partner with an existing airplane business to move here for hopefully a 20-year term that’s renewable.

He said it takes time to develop a new Mooney design, and in the meantime the workers there are producing parts for existing planes.

He couldn’t say the identity of the hoped-for new working partner, but said he hopes to have a joint Christmas party at the plant with representatives of that company, when everything is worked out.

Airport Facts

Kerrville- Kerr County Airport is a public-use general aviation facility that serves the Hill Country’s air transportation needs.

Major facilities include a 6,000-foot primary runway and additional crosswind 3,600-foot runway. 

Primary Runway 12-30 Attributes are:

• 6000’ x 100’ runway and parallel taxiway;

• Lighting- PAPI, REILS, Edge;

• Approaches;

• 12 and 30 RNAV (GPS) WAAS LPV Approaches (300-1);

• LOC Rwy 30.

Crosswind Runway Attributes are:

• 3600’ x 60’ runway and parallel taxiway;

• Lighting- PAPI, Edge;

• Approach- VOR- A, circling.

Other Attributes are:

• Large concrete ramp adjacent to Terminal to accommodate large corporate jets;

• Direct radio communications to Houston Center on the ramp;

• No landing fees or tie-down fees.

Kerrville- Kerr County Airport is home to eight on-airport businesses including Mooney International, FBO Kerrville Aviation, Dugosh Aviation and Air Evac EMS.

The terminal building facilities include:

• Public seating area in waiting room with Wi-Fi and Flight Aware monitor;

• Large conference room;

• Coffee and refreshments in break room;

• Pilots lounge which includes quiet area and shower;

• Flight planning area including computers, printers, and access to most flight planning software.

The airport has an economic impact of more than $38 million annually to the City of Kerrville and surrounding Hill County communities, according to the 2018 Texas Aviation Economic Impact Study released by TxDOT.

The Mission Statement says, “To provide aviation facilities and services for Kerrville-Hill Country area by managing airport infrastructure for a safe, efficient, and convenient aviation gateway.”

Values are agreed to by the board as: Safety and Security; Excellence in all we do; Innovation; Integrity in all dealings; and Accountability.

The Vision Statement adopted by the airport board states, “To provide premier services and airport facilities through operational excellence and innovation while promoting commercial and economic development.”

Pilot Resources include the programs Foreflight; Flight Aware; Flight plan and AOPA Airport Directory.

Fixed Base Operations Services are provided by Kerrville Aviation.

Contact Mary Rohrer, airport manager, at mrohrer@kerrvilleairport.com or phone 896-9399. The Kerrville-Kerr County Airport (KERV) is located at 1877 Airport Loop, Kerrville, TX 78028.

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