The Sherman Municipal Airport could see more than 15,000 operations and 40-based aircraft by the year 2040 based on the results of the airport’s new master plan. The city recently received the final version of the first phase of the planning document, which will help guide city leaders on how best to develop the airport for year’s to come.


The city’s interest in a master plan for its small municipal airport first gained momentum following a series of reforms and rate adjustments at North Texas Regional Airport over the past two years. These reforms, which included an increase in lease rates, led to turn their attention to Sherman as an alternative.


“This first phase was us taking a 50,000-foot view of what we have in place,” Assistant City Manager Terrence Steele said Tuesday.


Steele said he has been approached by multiple developers who are looking to build hangar space at the airport, but so far the city has not committed to any specific projects.


“Among the discussions with current management is that we want the aviation community to know that we want a viable airport — we just don’t want hodge podge out there,” Steele said during the May meeting.


Earlier this year, a developer proposed building a residential subdivision just outside the airport’s border than would feature homes with attached hangars for personal aircraft. However, this proposed development was not considered in the plan, which focused entirely within the constraints of the airport.


“An airport master plan study is needed to address key issues, objectives and goals pertinent to the airport’s development over a 20-year planning period,” the document says in its opening statement. “It is recommended an airport update its master plan every seven to ten years. Sherman Municipal Airport’s previous master plan was completed in 2002.”


“The study analyzes existing operations at the airport, existing airport conditions and provides new forecasts of aviation demand,” the document continued.


The study found that the number of operations conducted at the airport dropped from about 9,000 in 2002 to about 8,250 over the past year. This coincided with an industry-wide dip in operations over the past 20 years. The number of aircraft based at the airport also declined slightly during the same period from 24 aircraft in 2002 to 21 in 2019.


Despite the decline in aircraft, stakeholders in May said there is still high demand for space, but hangar space is in short supply. The lengthy wait lists have led some to relocate their aircraft to other places, they said.


In order to meet this demand, the plan proposes several options for speed of development including the construction of a large, 20-plane hangar in 2020. Instead, the preferred forecast calls for incremental investment with two seven-plane hangars to be built over the next five years.


Steele said the city is considering a second phase of the master plan that would delve deeper into future development. However, in the interim, the city has two pad sites that are ready for development that could serve as the start for future growth at the airport.


What do you think about the first phase of the airport’s master plan? Let local government reporter Michael Hutchins know at MHutchins@HeraldDemocrat.com.