Aeronautics Commission Approves $584K Grant to Wiley Post Regional Airport

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Recently, the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission awarded state grants to several Oklahoma communities for various airport infrastructure projects. The Commission awarded the grants through its five-year Airport Construction Program (ACP).

“We know from our recently completed Aviation & Aerospace Economic Impact Study that the 108 airports in the Oklahoma Airport System are responsible for $10.6B of annual economic activity. It is important to maintain and continually improve our state airport system to meet the needs of users of the system such as business, aeromedical, and personal.  The Commission is pleased to provide Oklahoma communities with federal and state financial assistance to develop and maintain their local airports,” said Director of Aeronautics Victor Bird. “These airports are gateways to the world for communities across our state.”

The grant was made for Wiley Post Airport to install new D lights and signs east of Taxiway A South on Taxiways A-1, C-1 and C and rehabilitating the pavement on Taxiway A-LE1. Based on bids, the total project cost was $584,015 and was funded with $525,613 federal grant funds, $29,201 state grant funds, and $29,201 sponsor matching funds. The Commission provided half the sponsor's required federal matching funds.

The airport sponsor, Oklahoma City Airport Trust, funded and received the result of an airfield electrical study (Airfield Lighting and Electrical System Improvements) in October 2013. The megger test results indicate the circuits have passed the threshold of reliable operation (megger test below 1.0). The remaining airfield electrical equipment has been updated to LED lights over the last 5 years and this is the second of the last three phases to finish converting the entire airfield over to LED. The taxiway pavement is exhibiting distresses due to seasonal environmental conditions (e.g. LTD cracking, joint spalling, corner breaks). No major structural failures were observed, therefore the pavement section is concluded to be structurally adequate to support the traffic that uses the runway. Rehabilitation of the pavement will protect the base structure and extend the life of the pavement.

The aviation and aerospace economic impact study showed the Wiley Post Airport has annual economic activity of $187.7M.  The regional business airports are the backbone of our state’s air transportation system and are located at the economic centers across the state. The Commission continues to focus the majority of federal and state funding on regional business airports and projects that make significant improvements to the system.

The airport supports LifeShare, an organ transplant organization that is dedicated to the recovery of organs and tissue for transplant purposes. LifeShare works with OU Medical Center, the Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, Integris Baptist Medical Center, Saint Francis Hospital, St. John’s Medical Center in the Oklahoma City area, as well as, 145 other healthcare organizations throughout Oklahoma. LifeShare has an aircraft and flight crew based at the airport that are on standby 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The airport supports area healthcare through services provided by Air Evac and Eagle Med. Both companies operate weekly at the airport. They transport patients to/from hospitals and clinics in Oklahoma City. Oklahoma Heart Hospital Physicians also have an aircraft and flight crew based at the airport. Physicians from this practice use the airport to fly to more than 60 outpatient clinics across the state. This service benefits many residents throughout the state. The oil and gas industry is a cornerstone of Oklahoma’s economy. The airport is used daily by energy companies such as Clearwater Enterprises, Chesapeake Energy, TransCanada, OGE Energy Corporation, and Gungoll Energy.

These companies use the airport to reach nearby oil wells, to conduct aerial inspections of pipelines and transmission lines, and visit regional offices. These activities are important to supporting many area jobs. Commuter Air Technology (CAT), based at the airport, was named by Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce as the 12th fastest-growing private company in Oklahoma City. CAT was also recognized by Inc. 5000 as one of the nation’s fastest growing private businesses for the fifth consecutive year. CAT provides customized aircraft modifications for commercial and government clients around the world.

They provide a full line of technical support services such as training, aircraft maintenance, and engineering, which in turn bring clients to the airport on a regular basis. These customers, while visiting Oklahoma, have expenditures for lodging and food which infuses money into the local economy. General aviation airports help attract employers. Using general aviation improves business efficiency, enabling companies to expand their market areas. General aviation reduces travel time from days to hours. Companies that use the airport include WR Hess Company, Jim Clark & Associates, H&H Cattle Company, and Carl Gungoll Exploration. Similarly, many nationally recognized companies like Wells Fargo, Costco, Cabela’s, and Sprint fly into the airport to reach area branch offices. When both local and transient businesses use the airport, the local job economy benefits.

The ACP is the method used by the Commission to determine where federal and state funds will be invested.  These decisions regarding airport development are consistent with achieving the goals laid out in the Oklahoma Airport System Plan (OASP). Airports included in the OASP are functionally classified as regional business, district or community.  For more information about the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission programs and the 2017 Aviation Economic Impact Study results, visit oac.ok.gov.