The New Wichita Municipal Airport – A $10 Million Model Facility Built From Scratch in 3 1/2 Years

This article discusses the construction of the new Wichita Municipal Airport, which would later become Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. This article was written by Emory L. Cox, who was the Director on the Board of Park Commissioners in 1954. The article is a reprint of the original which appeared in the October 1954 issue of the Kansas Government Journal in Topeka, Kansas.
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The Airport Today

Wichita Mid-Continent Airport is a small hub air carrier and general aviation complex, providing accommodations for all aircraft, as well as the latest innovations in passenger convenience, safety and efficiency at Kansas’ largest airport. The practical annual airfield capacity is 500,000 operations. Current operations are 43 percent of capacity. The terminal building is comprised of 194,881 square feet. A $6 million renovation of the terminal was completed in 1989.

The Wichita Airport Authority is responsible for directing the management of Wichita Mid-Continent Airport and Colonel James Jabara Airport. In fall of 1999, there was a change in the governance of the airports. The previous semi-autonomous, nine-member administrative board was replaced with a 13-member advisory board. The Wichita City Council is now the Authority Board.

Wichita Mid-Continent Airport continues to be an integral part of the total economy of south-central Kansas. Tenants under contract with the Airport Authority, including the various agencies of the federal government – as well as the airlines – number over 70.

Revenues generated from the Airport are used to cover operating expenses, debt service and part of the capital improvements. Airport funds are not used for purposes other than airport-related expenditures. The majority of non-revenue-producing capital improvements on Mid-Continent Airport is financed from the Airport Improvement Program, administered by the Federal Aviation Administration. The current operating budget is just under $17 million, and the net revenue budget is $20 million.

The Authority has used double-barreled general obligation bond funding for capital improvements at the Mid-Continent and Jabara Airports since 1969, and has matched these funds with approximately $187.3 million of FAA Airport Improvement Program funds. This low cost method of financing has served the airports well. The Airport Improvements will be in keeping with a sound master plan of development for both airports and will be consistent with the FAA policies.

General aviation is served by specialized retailers, who provide aircraft-related accessories, service, rental, storage and flight training. Two general aviation manufacturers are located adjacent to the airport and maintain access agreements for the use of public facilities, as well as provide customer service at their respective locations. Three fixed-base operators (FBOs) provide a complete range of services, including aircraft repair, refurbishing, maintenance, sales, fueling and charters:   Beechcraft, Yingling Aircraft and Wichita Airport Facilities.  There are approximately 270 general aviation aircraft based at Mid-Continent.