Yesterday Meets Today

In San Antonio, officials are investing heavily to revitalize one of the nation’s most historic airfields, Stinson Airport.

The revitalization of Stinson Municipal comes at a time when the south side of San Antonio is experiencing significant economic growth and investment, according to O’Krongley, perhaps best evidenced by the creation of a new Toyota plant nearby.

“We’re having businesses now coming to the south side that utilize corporate aviation,” he says, “like the Toyota facility. They have suppliers fly in here a lot, and we see quite a few developers. And, overall, we’re getting new businesses into the San Antonio area that use corporate aviation more.”

O’Krongley puts that the near-term development costs at some $5 million for the runway/taxiway initiative and another $4 million for expanding and refurbishing the terminal building. When completed, the terminal will grow from 7,000 square feet in size to some 25,000 square feet, and will house airport administration, a corporate conference center, flight planning, and line service capabilities for the airport’s two FBOs — Check-Six Aviation and San Antonio Aviation, Inc. It will also host two rental car counters, an office for the Texas Air Museum, and classrooms for a local community college’s flight training curriculum.

Says O’Krongley, “We’ll have an executive suite concept for aircraft sales, insurance, or whatever. Basically, what we have in the form of letters of intent, 85 percent is already pre-leased or spoken for.”

Stinson Municipal has some 132 based aircraft, according to O’Krongley, and has 120,000 annual operations [down from the peak of 180,000 in 2003]. Records show the airport moved some 200,000 gallons of fuel in 2005.

O’Kronley says since he arrived seven years ago the airport has been on a growth trend even prior to the redevelopment initiative. He says that when he arrived the facilities were about 55 percent vacant; today they are 100 percent full and there’s a waiting list for hangar storage. Recent T-hangar development has been by private enterprise.

“That gets into the third area of development, which is private,” says O’Kronley. “We went out with an RFP [request for proposals] to get a third party out here to develop more T-hangars. We’re working with them right now and that is going to bring about eight corporate hangars and 75 T-hangars in three phases of 25 hangars each.”

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