Located in "Hill Country" just 65 miles northwest of San Antonio, the city of Kerrville, TX, (population 22,344) has been home to the Mooney Aviation Company for more than 60 years. According to local lore, the Mooney brothers moved their single-engine aircraft company there from Wichita to be closer to the family farm.
Today, Kerrville Municipal Airport/Louis Schreiner Field (ERV) plays an important role serving the high-tech corridor that has developed in the area - and is still international headquarters for Mooney, which resumed manufacturing operations earlier this year. Throughout the years, ERV has grown steadily to accommodate business travelers and now averages about 60,000 operations per year. Recent airfield improvements include runway and taxiway upgrades, the addition of an instrument landing system, and updated security. A new terminal was added in 2007.
The airport's latest infrastructure enhancement is the addition of 12 new hangars, an $801,000 project funded by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) and FAA. Typically, governmental agencies manage TxDOT aviation projects, but ERV's recently completed project was managed by the local airport board to coordinate participation with the city and county. The development dramatically increased the airport's aircraft storage capacity, and will provide an additional income stream for the city/county-owned facility, explains Airport Manager Bruce McKenzie. Currently, ERV has 182 based aircraft that operate from two runways (3,600 feet and 6,000 feet).
Project: New Hangars
Location: Kerrville (TX) Municipal Airport/Louis Schreiner Field
Scope of Development: 12 T-Hangars
Funding: TxDOT; FAA; city; county
Primary Contractor: Lansford Co.
Hangar Lease Rate: $325/month
Key Benefit: New $46,800/year revenue stream for airport
"Hangars normally are a great revenue-generator for small general aviation airports," says McKenzie. "(Previously), the airport had 16 T-hangars, all of which were leased, and there was a waiting list of people saying they would rent one if one was available."
The airport plans to lease the new hangars for $325 per month, generating about $46,800 of new revenue each year for the airport. "We began diligently working on the proposal once the go-ahead was given," McKenzie says. "It was also at this time we were notified that the Texas Department of Transportation Aviation division approved a grant request to fund 90 percent of the new T-hangar project."
FAA funds for the project were allocated to ERV under a trial program that allowed the local airport board to coordinate participation with the city and county. "Specifically, the city pledged to pave part of the project and the county to complete the site work," explains McKenzie. "Both contributions reduced the overall cost of building the hangars."
History of Support
Kerr County has had a long history of matching funds for airport improvements ever since the city of Kerrville deeded it one-half interest in the facility in 1952. In 1978, the city annexed 64 acres along the state highway that borders the airport and 459 acres of airport property into the city limits; and extensive development occurred on the east side of the airport during the following 10 years. A fixed-base operator and other tenant activities (three aircraft service operations and an air EMS unit) developed around the ramp area as it exists today. Mooney partially occupies an area west of the secondary runway.
In 2008, a joint city/county board with five members was established to manage the airport. "(The board's) only agenda is to make this airport the best that it can be for the community," notes McKenzie.
In 2011, TxDOT recognized ERV as the state's General Aviation Airport of the Year. "This airport is the gateway to our community," says McKenzie. "We have tourists, hunters, a 737 that flies in kids for a huge summer camp, as well as other industries that fly in and use our facility. Our recent improvements give Kerrville the opportunity to flourish."
McKenzie is also quick to acknowledge the TxDOT Aviation Division for its guidance before and during the airport's hangar project.