GRAYSON COUNTY, TX -- The US Aviation flight school plans to grow its operations at North Texas Regional Airport in the next couple years, adding instructors and maintenance staff.
A collaboration of the airport, Grayson County, Denison Development Alliance and SEDCO helped to bring the expansion here.
US Aviation President Mike Sykes said the support of the county is one of the reasons they decided to expand here.
"And it's a great airport," he said. "It has an ATC tower, which is very important. Multiple runways, open terrain around the airport, so from a safety perspective."
And an expanded flight school means more traffic through the airport.
Airport Director Mike Shahan said the increased traffic will bring in more money from the FAA, which is less taxpayer money the county has to spend.
"Right now, the county is paying that cost," he said. "And so that'll save us $200,000 a year."
The last flight school out at the airport shut down unexpectedly in 2010. At the time, it owed tens of thousand of dollars to students and the cities of Sherman and Denison.
SEDCO said they settled a lawsuit with Air Safety Flight Academy for an undisclosed amount of money. But said they did not recoup all of their losses.
SEDCO president Scott Connell said they did things differently this time - like not giving out incentive money upfront.
"The best thing about it is that this is a company that's been here for six months," he said. "And have shown some great growth in their training process."
And while this is a major economic grab for the entire area, Grayson County officials say it shows the importance of what can happen when the entire county comes together for one common purpose.
"We realize that we're not competing against each other. It's a global economy. So that's the real story here," said Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum.
"We see it as a long term relationship. It's really a relationship that already exists," Connell said. "But it's nice to be able to put it together for a concrete project to support an industry."
The Airport said the expansion is a major step into becoming a self-sufficient operation.
Shahan expects traffic to increase from around 40,000 operations a year to around 100,000.
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