FAA funds Hays airport improvements

Margaret Allen
Pilot Julius McPherson, right, of Dallas, who flies the UPS flight from Wichita to Hays every Monday through Saturday, hands packages to Dillon Schmidt, left, of Hays, a UPS air driver.

HAYS–Hays Regional Airport, Hays Aircraft LLC general manager Chris Springer is aware of the $2.2 million in upgrades the city of Hays has planned in the next year for the airport. The construction, financed by the Federal Aviation Administration through the Phase III Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, will have minimal affect on operations, according to city officials.

Hays Aircraft, the fixed base operator that fuels and repairs aircraft and offers flight lessons, will see a difference when work begins on an asphalt overlay to rehabilitate Airport Fuel Road on the east side of the airport.

“That’s how we get our fuel trucks to the airport, all the deliveries come on that road,” Springer said. “So we’ll be re-routing the trucks to another road.”

Also planned are rehabilitation of the north terminal apron, restriping of some pavement markings on the north terminal apron and the primary runway and a taxiway connector, and a lighting upgrade on a crosswind runway, according to airport director Jamie Salter.

“We’re working with the city to minimize the impact to the customers we serve,” Springer said.

Construction will have no impact on the airport’s daily commercial passenger service to and from Denver International Airport, Salter said. It will also be phased to minimally affect aircraft and tenant operations, she said.

Hays Regional Airport has about 34,000 take-offs and landings annually, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

SkyWest’s Bombardier CRJ-200 passenger jet for United Express takes off at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays, with charter flights earlier, Springer said.

Pilot Julius McPherson, of Dallas, who flies the UPS flight from Wichita to Hays every Monday through Saturday, said he delivers about 130 packages per flight each way.

The project requires a reimbursable agreement with FAA technical operations to turn off and on the runway navigational aids during construction.

Pratt Regional Airport was awarded $30,000, like Hays among 80 state airports that received awards ranging from $20,000 to more than $16M through the CARES Act.