The plane! The plane!” is a cultural reference to the opening of Fantasy Island, a television series that aired in the 1980s. The flight pattern taken by the Mesquite Metro Airport, founded in the 1980s, to its recent accomplishments is not a fantasy highlighted by the daily arrival of one seaplane. Instead, the airport has ascended to new heights as a relevant economic engine in the North Texas region. In addition, there are future flights scheduled to new destinations of success for an airport that already has a $22.7 million total economic impact on the Mesquite community.
“We are experiencing a tremendous increase in the use of our airport. Since 2011, there has been a 278 percent increase in jobs created and the economic impact has increased by 116 percent. The taxable value of our airport is up nearly eight percent, hanger rental revenue has risen by more than 10 percent and fuel sales have gone up more than 9 percent,” said Mesquite Metro Airport General Manager Eric Pratt.
Pratt indicated a recent Texas Aviation Economic Impact Study published by the Texas Department of Transportation ranked Mesquite’s airport 32nd out of 264 general aviation airports in the state.
The airport is transitioning from a recreational airport to a competitive corporate jet destination. Nearly 17 percent of all aircraft based in Mesquite are for business use. In 2017, the airport was named one of the nation’s top-25 busiest general aviation airports.
“We have 216 aircraft based here in 164 hangers. The mixture of aircraft operating in Mesquite includes single engine and multi-engine planes, jets and helicopters. Our location, fuel prices, full-service terminal, on-site maintenance and FAA-control tower situate Mesquite Metro Airport as a destination of choice by pilots and schedulers,” Pratt said.
The future is bright for the airport. Total take-offs and landings are slightly up from last year. There are an additional five hangers due to be leased by the end of 2018 and five more hangers that will be available in 2019. The airport is currently underway with a massive $2.8 million improvement project, which is 90 percent funded by the FAA. The 6,000-foot runway, taxiway lighting system and other infrastructure enhancements, along with open land available for expansion, will help distance Mesquite Metro Airport from the perception as only a recreational airport to the reality of a thriving airport to both leisure and business aviators.