Pearland airport's wish list - FAA grant, road extension

Photo cred: Kirk Sides/ Staff Photographer

Photo cred: Kirk Sides/ Staff Photographer

By Jennifer Bolton, Correspondent, Houston Chronicle

 Published 1:46 pm, February 4, 2019

After a federal grant funded recent security and safety measures at Pearland Regional Airport, the facility’s management is hoping for another one to improve the facility’s infrastructure to meet aviation demands as the area population continues to surge.

The facility, a privately owned airfield open to the public, also has joined local governments in lobbying to extend Pearland Parkway beyond where it dead-ends at Dixie Farm Road, which the airport’s management company, Texas Aviation Partners, says is needed to improve access from roads.

Texas Aviation Partners was able to garner about $600,000 in grant funding from the Federal Aviation Agency for safety and security improvements that were completed last year and included restriping and remarking airport signage on runways and taxi ways and upgrading security gates.

If awarded, the second FAA grant would go toward upgrading runway lighting and navigational aids. The company would also like to build a new terminal building.

“This would be better for the public and for the travelers who come through the airport,” TAP owner Stephen Alexander said. “It would allow for more space for staff and for passengers.”

Alexander expects to to hear whether the grant is awarded by spring.

Call to extend parkway

TAP has joined Brazoria County and the nearby municipalities of Pearland, Friendswood and Alvin in advocating to the Houston-Galveston Area Council that the parkway be extended south.

“The proposed extension would go right through some of the property currently owned by Pearland Airport, and we are in total support of that extension,” he said. “One of our biggest challenges at the airport is roadway access. We have fantastic infrastructure aviation-wise, but unfortunately our access to streets and roads leaves something to be desired.”

Alexander said extending the major thoroughfare would attract new businesses as well as make it easier for passengers and for businesses based on on airport property.

“Airplane rental companies, flying clubs, flight instruction businesses, pipeline surveying groups, aerial photographers, aircraft maintenance — all of these businesses are currently working out of the airport,” he said. “We’ve experienced significant growth already, and the parkway would not only help us keep up with that growth but be prepared for more in the upcoming years.”

Role during Harvey

Another reason the parkway extension is important, said Alexander, is because of the airport’s designation as a reliever airport for Hobby Airport in times of disaster such as a hurricane.

“Pearland airport was an absolutely invaluable asset during Hurricane Harvey,” he said. “We were able to transport people to the state government in Austin, bring in disaster relief supplies, shuttle people back and forth, and all of this is because of the excellent drainage we have. While other airports were literally and figuratively under water, we remained open 24/7.”

He said population growth dictates that infrastructure improvements will eventually be needed at the airport.

“And when is the best time to upgrade drainage and other infrastructure? During road projects,” he said.

The restriping and remarking work funded last year through FAA money “make it easier for things on the plane side of things — what the pilots see from the air,” Alexander said. The airport’s gates were upgraded to be accessed through keypads.

The airport is home to a variety of tenants and businesses including flights schools and airplane and helicopter maintenance shops.

Built as a private facility in 1947 by Perry Brown of Friendswood, the 320-acre airport was transitioned to public use in 1950. Clover Acquisition acquired the property in 1957 and renamed it Clover Field. The airport, which has one 5,000-foot runway that can accommodate up to medium-size aircraft, was renamed Pearland Regional Airport in 2003. Texas Aviation Partners took over management in June 2013.

Pearland Regional Airport looks to attract more grants, private investment

Pearland Regional Airport completed $600,000 in grant-funded safety projects in November. (Photo by Haley Morrison/community Impact Newspaper)

Pearland Regional Airport completed $600,000 in grant-funded safety projects in November. (Photo by Haley Morrison/community Impact Newspaper)

By Haley Morrison, Community Impact Newspaper

 Published 7:00am, December 18, 2018

The Pearland Regional Airport has completed $600,000 in Federal Aviation Administration-grant-funded projects for improving safety and security, with a final inspection in mid-November.

“The grant that just wrapped up is just the first step of several developments we hope to have in place here in the near future,” said Stephen Alexander, owner of Texas Aviation Partners, the company managing the airport.

The airport renovations came in under budget with improvements to the striping, signage, entrance gates and power lines. These improvements go a long way to make sure airplanes and cars do not mix, Alexander said.

Now the airport is finishing the planning stages of development from private investors, including new hangars.

“As we improve the airport and the runaways and the taxiways and the airport infrastructure, it then tends to draw private development to the area,” Alexander said.

In 2019, the airport will hear whether it will receive a grant from the FAA and Texas Department of Transportation for lighting upgrades.

Alexander said he is also hoping to see the expansion of Pearland Parkway, which could be funded by a Houston-Galveston Area Council grant.

“Roadway access is one of the areas we really want to improve for the airport,” Alexander said. “It’s not the easiest place to find if you don’t know where you’re going.”

Adding infrastructure could increase the airport’s footprint, Pearland City Manager Clay Pearson said.

“The airport provides an option to private air traffic to avoid more congested and more expensive to operate airports in the area, so it’s a definite niche being filled,” he said.

The parkway expansion would pass directly through airport property. It will also widen the two-lane road to four, creating easier access to the airport, Alexander said.

“Having better access via Pearland Parkway would be a complete game-changer for accessibility of the airport and therefore driving future economic development,” Alexander said.

H-GAC will announce its grant funding decisions in March.