Denison named a finalist for home of new airbase - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Denison named a finalist for home of new airbase

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DENISON -- A former Texoma airbase could soon reopen its runways to military aircraft.

The field has been narrowed down to eight and we know North Texas Regional Airport could become the new airbase for a fleet of planes once used by the Air Force.

The Commemorative Air Force is currently based in Midland.

Its CEO, Scott Brown, says he wants to relocate to an area with a larger population with the goal of spreading the word to more people about the impact aviation has made on their freedom.

It's a lucrative deal more than 25 airports around the country were hoping to land.

But only eight remain in the running to be the new headquarters for the CAF, which includes a fleet of 157 vintage WWII aircraft.

"Keep ‘em flying is their logo," airport director Mike Shahan said. He says he learned the NTRA was a finalist Wednesday morning.

Three other airports in the Dallas Metroplex are also waiting in the wings to be named the new airbase.

Becoming CAF's headquarters could bring an economic boost for the area that's chosen.

The CAF hosts an annual warbird airshow that draws a crowd of tens of thousands.

It also features a year-round aviation attraction.

If Denison is named as the new home, Shahan says it would operate out of a new 28,500 square foot hangar being built on the west side of the runway. The hangar is scheduled to be completed in September.

An airbase would bring built in business for Terry Vogel who runs the Lake Texoma Jet Center.

"We'll sell them fuel. We're the only provider on the field," she said.

Increasing the number of take-offs and landings at the airport could also mean more stability to the control tower through federal funding. Vogel says the tower is paid for locally through the end of the year.

"Every body's going to try to keep the tower and we don't anticipate it going away," she said. "These planes fly quite a bit and they do a lot of short flights, so they'd be a pretty good count for the airport as a whole."

The CAF has about 25 paid employees. It expects 5-10 to relocate leaving about 20 jobs up for grabs in Texoma is its chosen as the new home.

A final decision is expected to be made early next year.