By Emma Perez-Trevino
Significant improvements to the Port Isabel-Cameron County Airport are in store.
Already, approximately $7 million in improvements have been made within the last several years, and following a recent Cameron County Commissioners Court meeting, another $600,000 in enhancements will be injected into the county-owned airport that is mostly used by private single-engine and twin-engine aircraft.
Commissioners Court recently authorized entering into an airport project participation agreement with the Texas Department of Transportation’s Aviation Division for the construction of a new fuel farm facility at the airport.
The airport, which used to house a military base, is located near Bayview, approximately 10 miles northwest of Port Isabel.
The state has awarded the county a $450,000 grant for the fuel farm facility while the county will provide $150,000 to the project.
Projects that have already come to fruition include improvements to the runway, a new terminal, fixed markings, lighting and 10 new hangars.
Cameron County Administrator Pete Sepulveda Jr. suggested that the improvements, coupled with plans in the area for a second causeway linking the mainland to South Padre Island, should place the airport on the map.
“It’s in a perfect location,” Sepulveda said of its potential for attention and growth.
The airport, however, came into national attention in late 2010 and into early 2011. In October 2010, U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, piloting a Cessna aircraft, landed on a closed runway at the airport while crews were repairing the runway. No one was injured in the incident, but it did bring some action in early 2011.
In a letter to Inhofe dated Jan. 4, 2011, which is posted on the AV website, FAA Aviation Safety Inspector Robert J. O’Keefe noted that Inhofe had agreed to complete a program in remedial training as a substitute for legal enforcement action. Inhofe completed seven hours in both ground and flight instruction.