For the first time in recent history, North Texas Regional Airport — Perrin Field is projected to be in the black without assistance from Grayson County. Projections show that the airport could end 2019 in the black, but estimates for 2020 currently shows a surplus of at least $145,000, officials said this week.
The news that the airport has become self sufficient comes nearly one year after the airport was accepted into the Federal Aviation Administration’s Contract Tower Program. This moved the financial responsibility for the airport’s control tower from NTRA to the FAA.
“I think we are finally where we need to be,” Grayson County Judge Bill Magers said. “We had a plan, we worked on the plan and now it has come to fruition.”
The news came out of conversations by the Grayson County Regional Mobility Authority regarding the airport’s 2020 budget which still has to go through legal review before it can be adopted by the organization and the county.
“We’ve got the budget pretty much in its final form,” RMA board member Randy Hensarling. “We are going to take it to the judge and go over it with him, but at the end of the day we are going to show, projected surplus for 2020.”
For several years, Magers was one of many county officials that said the contract tower program was the one hurdle the airport needed to pass to become self sufficient. Each year, the county would assist in the funding of the tower by contributing about $300,000 to the airport’s funding.
Despite the FAA assuming funding responsibility for the tower for this year, Magers said there is one project that could require assistance from the county. Officials estimated this week that it could cost $400,000 to connect NTRA to radar services, but the time table for this project has yet to be determined. Magers said it is likely that the county could cover this cost and be reimbursed in the future.
For 2020, Hensarling said the airport’s surplus could range from about $145,000 if it receives grant funding to $300,000 if it does not. This grant funding will allow the airport to pursue a series of improvement projects that otherwise it would not be able to complete.
The largest of these projects is the drafting of a new master plan for the airport and a pavement study for its runways. The master plan will serve as a guiding document for the airport and development, while the pavement study will determine the lifespan of the runways and what types of aircraft it can handle. Last month, the Texas Department of Transportation approved $350,000 in funding for the projects.
Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter. He can be reached at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.