Airport History

A small group of local aviation enthusiasts saw the expansion of Dallas to the north. On 400 acres of cotton fields, private developers built Addison Airport in 1957 with private funds.

Two runways served the air traffic needs. One runway consisted of asphalt and the other runway was aggregate. The crosswind runway was later closed to allow for further hangar development at the north end of the airport and reduce the impact of the traffic patterns on the surrounding residential neighborhoods. In the 60s, Addison Airport was the first private airport to receive a fully-funded FAA control tower. During the first 20 years of the airport’s existence, it maintained its private status and grew to become the largest general aviation airport in the country. It is rare that an airport of this magnitude could be built and maintained without local, state, or federal funds.

During the mid-70s, it became obvious that the airport and its flight corridors were being encroached upon. As a private airport, it is difficult to zone and protect flight corridors as easily as it is for a municipality or the federal government. This led to Henry Stuart, the Town of Addison, and the FAA coming together to transfer ownership of Addison Airport to the Town, in order to preserve the viability of the airport through zoning.

In 1976, an agreement was reached between the Town of Addison, FAA, and Addison Airport, Inc. to purchase the airport. The Town received an airport for free, the FAA retained its primary reliever for Dallas Love Field and the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, and Addison Airport of Texas, Inc. purchased a twenty-year lease on the entire airport for funding the Town’s portion of the airport acquisition. The airport lease was extended for four years in subsequent years.

The presence of the airport, along with the railroad and highway networks in North Dallas, has and will continue to attract a diversity of industries to the Metroplex. The Carrollton Chronicle reported as early as 1963 that “for the most part the growth of this area has been made possible because of the development of the Addison Airport.”

Today, Addison Airport remains the third largest general aviation airport in the country. The airport operates at a substantially lower cost than airports with far less air traffic because of its single runway operation. With the continued migration of business to North Dallas, the airport is still growing with major corporate flight departments being the prime growth sector. The airport caters to a large number of businesses in the Dallas area, as well as flight training facilities and hundreds of recreational pilots. There are approximately 750 based aircraft with a total of 165,000 annual operations with no local flying or touch-and-go’s permitted.

Shortly after becoming a public airport, fund from the federal government began to flow into capital improvement projects. The FAA’s portion of these funds is 90 percent, with the other 10 percent provided by direct revenue generated from airport operations. Today, daily maintenance and operations funding comes from fuel flowage fees and Addison Airport of Texas, Inc.

The vast majority of airports nationwide are often burdens to taxpayers. Not only has Addison Airport never been a burden, but the economic impact of the airport today exceeds $220 million. Property taxes imposed on business aircraft and improvements account for approximately 18 percent of the Town’s total property tax revenue. One of Addison’s fire stations, a police station, and the Service Center are all located on Addison Airport property to better serve the community.

The enormous benefits the airport has created for the Town of Addison, with no direct cost to the taxpayers, makes the airport one of the Town’s most valuable assets. The Town made its first general fund expenditure on the airport with a street improvement during the summer of 1993. Most communities can only dream of the positive economic impact Addison Airport has had on the Town of Addison. The airport and its contribution to the community has truly been a success since its inception in 1957 and will continue to carry this community in future years as a steady economic booster.

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