The Cleburne Regional Airport is one of Cleburne’s best assets, CRA Manager Sharlette Wright said, and one sure to play an even larger role in Cleburne’s future.
“That’s always been the case but even more so since the Chisholm Trail Parkway opened,” Wright said. “Since then we’ve seen an increase in people flying in here who have business in the Metroplex and people flying in to visit their businesses here or look at bringing new businesses in including people looking at Cleburne Station. When you take into account the money people spend while they’re here on restaurants, hotels and other things the impact of bringing dollars into the community becomes even larger.”
Wright discussed the airport’s amenities, benefits and current projects during Wednesday’s weekly luncheon of the Cleburne Lions Club.
Wright previously worked at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport and served as manager of the Brownwood Regional Airport before coming to Cleburne in 2011.
The Chisholm Trail Parkway, a toll road connecting Cleburne to Fort Worth, has made it easier for those with business in Fort Worth or the mid cities to use Cleburne instead of Spinks Airport or Meachum International Airport, both in Fort Worth.
Unlike those airports, Wright said, CRA charges no landing fees. Fuel prices at the airport are also lower, which attracts many to fly into Cleburne instead of Fort Worth or elsewhere to refuel. The city installed the airport’s fuel farm in 2008.
“We were getting a lot who would have flown into Meachum instead to refuel,” Wright said. “Some of that’s declined since they got a fuel truck but we still do well in jet fuel sales.”
Airport revenues, Wright said, derive from fuel sales, land leases and hangar rentals and grants from the state and the Federal Aviation Administration.
As of now, 110 aircraft are based at the airport, Wright said, of which 100 are small aircraft and the rest are jets. The airport’s runway is 100 feet wide and 5,700 feet long and the facility covers 520 acres.
“There’s more there than it seems,” Wright said. “The fencing surrounding the airport is not the property line so there’s quite a bit more room for industrial and aviation development out there.”
The city owns five rows of T-hangars with 10 units per row, two large corporate hangars and five box hangars, Wright said. There are also four privately owned corporate hangars, one box hangar and two rows of T-hangars on site.
The airport provides education and entertainment for residents and draws tourists, Wright said.
“We have pancake breakfast fly ins to promote the airport on fifth Saturdays,” Wright said. “The next one is from 8-11 a.m. March 31. People fly their aircraft in and it gives kids and adults a chance to look at the airplanes, talk to pilots and learn about aviation. We have quite a few school field trips out there too and, after Hurricane Harvey, people in the community collected supplies and donations and we had six relief mission flights to the coast out of our airport.”
Several projects are in the planning stage and more is to come.
“We need drainage work,” Wright said. “When it rains, some areas are like a lake out there. I’ve also put a package together of $15 million in capital improvements that will be submitted as grant proposals to the FAA. These are projects that will be spaced out over the next 10 years or so depending on getting the grants and what the city’s match will be.”