Katy Businesses Putting Focus on Houston Executive

The Katy Area Economic Development Council plans to play a major role in boosting business at the new Houston Executive Airport, which the group thinks could be a catalyst for area business growth.

The airport's proximity to the West Houston area and the energy corridor will help the council attract new industries and retain existing ones, said Lance LaCour, the council president and chief executive officer.

"The airport is very important in that many companies, especially corporate headquarters, have corporate aircraft," LaCour said. "Some of our competitors have an airport in place, which is an important factor in their site selection decision."

The airport officially opened in January at 1900 Cardiff Road in Brookshire, north of Interstate 10 and west of FM 2855, to serve private and corporate aviation clients.

LaCour said the council will work with airport officials to devise a marketing strategy to draw clients to the facility and plan its continued development. The council has assembled a group of local business leaders called the Industry Committee to oversee marketing and study commercial and general aviation development of the airport.

The council plans to spend about $2,000 to attend a national aviation trade show in Atlanta this year to promote the airport, as well as to provide staffing resources and technical and land planning assistance to help develop the facility's business park, LaCour said.

News about the airport, which is being developed by Houston businessman Ron Henriksen, is boosting interest in industrial sites in nearby Waller County, LaCour said.

Airport executive director Andrew Perry said the facility can successfully compete with Sugar Land Regional Airport, 12888-B Texas 6 South. His airport's biggest advantage, he said, is its proximity to Interstate 10 and businesses in the energy corridor.

Long-range plans for the airport include extending the 4,500-foot runway to 7,000 feet to accommodate larger aircraft.

The airport site covers more than three square miles. Two will be used for aviation development while the remaining 700 acres will be dedicated to industrial and commercial development, Perry said.

Plans to develop the airport drew opposition last year from some living in the area. Residents in Remington Trails, a housing development near the airport, say they are still worried about noise and the safety issues surrounding the project, such as the fear of planes clashing with the many migratory birds in the area.

A recent complaint is a bright rotating strobe light that many residents find annoying, Remington Trails resident Nancy Gabany said.

Perry said the airport has signed on jets and other aircraft as hangar tenants, but said he could not release the names until all the details are completed.

"Additionally we are working with several potential customers to build hangar facilities for corporate aircraft storage and to provide aviation services from those facilities," he said.

Airport officials are also actively marketing the airport, Perry said. The first marketing phase included sending direct mailers to area corporate aircraft operators, pilots and charter operators. In January, airport officials attended a national business aviation conference and exhibition to tout the new facility.

Also planned is advertising in local and national publications, Perry said.



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