Economic potential poised to take flight in Palestine

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

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The value of a municipal airport to a city goes well beyond air service. The economic impact brought to a community from the visitors, businesses and reputation can deliver continued growth and development from different avenues, many unseen by residents.

“I compare our airport’s value to Lake Palestine,” said Jeff Jeffcoat, owner of Jeffcoat Consulting and recently named Palestine Municipal Airport (KPSN) airport manager. “The lake was created for flood control and water management, but most residents and visitors appreciate it for the bass fishing and water skiing. The airport is the same. It may have been built for other purposes, but the benefit to our community lies in its economic and recreational potential.”

Unique runways

Built in 1943 during World War II as a pilot training facility, KPSN is a Business/Corporate Service Airport in the Texas Airport System Plan and a Regional Airport within the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Two runways, 100 feet wide by 5,005 feet and 75 feet wide by 4,002 feet, can accommodate aircraft ranging from Cessna 152 trainers to Gulfstream-V corporate jets. The grounds include a terminal, numerous hangars, taxi lanes and a fuel farm with self-service Avgas and full-service Jet fuel.

KPSN is distinguished from most regional airports in its runway layout, built in such a way as to provide crosswind training. Coupled with the fact it is relatively equidistant from Austin, Dallas, Shreveport and Houston, the airport receives significant student pilot training traffic seeking the crosswinds scenarios.

Consistent usage

The airport has many other consistent users, accommodating approximately 8,500 operations per year. CHRISTUS Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler has four helicopter bases for its Flight for Life, a local critical care air medical helicopter transport service, including one at KPSN. Martinaire flies a Cessna 208B Super Cargomaster out of KPSN contracted to UPS for overnight packages with daily service. Aerial firefighting services are increasing, as is traffic for local companies like WalMart, Nucor Steel, Tractor Supply and various oil enterprises.

“There are routinely 30-40 airplanes at the arifleid with around 30 jet visits each month,” said Jeffcoat.

Economic potential

The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) performed a 2018 study of the impact and relationship of airports to the economies of Texas as a whole and the individual communities where they are located. The economic activity extends well beyond the runways, with visitors spending money for products and services at the airport and surrounding businesses. The KPSN economic impact on Palestine was an annual $1.3 million output and 12 jobs.  

However, the potential for an increased economic impact is significant in Palestine. The TxDOT study indicated other towns with similar populations had total output of as high as nearly $12 million, supporting the notion of growth possible in Palestine. Several factors help that potential, said Jeffcoat.

“The fact KPSN sits on more than 500 acres outside of town means there is plenty of room for development to host a wide range of businesses, “ he said. “Our central geographical location to many large markets connected by quality highways makes the significant amount of undeveloped land within the airport property presents outstanding opportunities.”

Take flight in Palestine

While only recently appointed airport manager, Jeffcoat has a lengthy relationship with KPSN. As a young man, he learned to fly there and has housed his planes in its hangars for more than 20 years. As the airport manager, he is excited about the economic potential at KPSN and exciting investments in the future, such as a new tracking system to collect accurate data on arrivals/departures. Still, the most significant attribute for Palestine may be a quality of life element.

“The social aspect of being involved at the airport is a special experience,” he said. “There are quality people from all walks of life here who have a passion for growth and community development, which is the underlying factor for the potential residing in the airport and Palestine itself.”

To learn more about the opportunities awaiting at KPSN and Palestine, contact Palestine Economic Development today.

Category: News