A taxiway extension project at Waupaca Municipal Airport-Brunner Field is drawing new business to that part of the airport.
The $312,000 federal Bureau of Aeronautics project is being covered by entitlement funds.
“It is not taking any local tax money,” Fixed Base Operator Pete Andersen said. “Entitlement funds are the monies people in aviation pay when they purchase fuel. For passengers on flights, there is a fee on their ticket that goes toward that. It makes airports sustainable.”
Plans for the taxiway extension, on the airport property’s northwest corner, began more than a year ago. The Common Council approved the project this year.
“When people leave those hangars, they have to back-taxi or use a runway to get to the terminal area,” Andersen said. “When you look at the buildings over there, because there is no taxiway, it has deterred business in that area.”
The project, which is expected to be completed before the snow hits the ground, will not only address the safety of airport operations but will also complete the connections to the main terminal area and runway, he said.
Andersen said the project has also resulted in three businesses moving into that part of the airport.
One of them is Sunset Aviation, which is owned by Ted Radtke.
“I do private and advanced instruction and also provide scenic air tours around the Waupaca and Weyauwega areas,” Radtke said.
He started the business last October and initially, worked out of the terminal. “Now, I’m working out of the large building slated for the ramp expansion,” Radtke said. “I’ve been flying for 11 years.”
He is also working with Premier Air Charter, which is a company based out of San Diego.
“They have staged an airplane here in Waupaca for charters. I am one of their pilots,” Radtke said. “I think there’s a definite market here in central Wisconsin for another charter service.”
He recently returned from training in San Diego.
“It is so much more convenient for business people,” Radtke said of charter flights. “There is no security; no delays. You can fly into smaller airports and get closer to your destination.”
Andersen said that as of mid-August, Premier Air Charter has a Cessna 340 seven-seat aircraft on the grounds of Waupaca’s airport, ready for business travel.
He also said that Ken Rodgers, who is chairman of the board of Wire Tech Inc., is making an investment of more than $2.4 million to support his global business.
“He has purchased a Cessna Citation jet and also owns a Cessna Twin Engine 421 Golden Eagle,” Andersen said. “He owns two of the five buildings located in that part of the airport.”
Andersen said all of these projects are directly related to the airport’s taxiway extension project.
“We’ve already seen three businesses move into that area because of it,” he said. “It has opened new avenues for us – when people are shopping for property – to have this available.”