For the first time in a quarter of a century, the Johnson County Airport Commission opened a newly rebuilt runway at Johnson County Executive Airport. The airport’s previous primary 4,000-foot runway has outlived its service life and was completely reconstructed.
The $6 million project was funded by two sources, the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program’s matching grant program and revenues from the Johnson County Airport Commission. The project was engineered by Burns & McDonnell, and the work was done by Ideker.
“This project reaffirms the county’s commitment to provide safe airport infrastructure for economic development and future job growth at Executive Airport,” said Chairman Ed Eilert, Johnson County Board of County Commissioners. “The airport currently has a $27.5 million direct economic impact annually in the county and supports more than 400 full time jobs with an annual payroll of almost $11.5 million.”
“The primary runway of a general aviation airport is the absolute backbone, making all airport operations possible,” said Brad Weisenburger, Chairman of the Johnson County Airport Commission. “This completely rebuilt runway should remain in service for more than 20 years and will provide business development opportunities, such as charter services, recreational flying and fix-based operators, creating jobs and building economy at the Johnson County Executive Airport.”
• The project was a total reconstruction of runway 18/36, spanning just a foot shy of 4,100 feet. It has been 25 years since the runway has had a major renovation.
• The entire old runway was completely removed and replaced in seven months.
• The work required almost 6,700 cubic yards of concrete, involving approximately 700 concrete trucks.
• The runway has six miles of new wiring and three miles of new conduit. All 148 runway lights were also replaced along 12 guidance signs for aircraft.
• Johnson County’s two airports – Executive Airport and the New Century AirCenter near Gardner – were created in 1942 during World War II. The airport at the Olathe Naval Station outside Gardner was used for pilot training during WWII and the Korean War. The Executive Airport here served as a Naval auxiliary field during that time, was deeded to the city of Olathe in 1951 and transferred from the city to Johnson County in 1967 which is the reason the Johnson County Airport Commission was created.
• The Executive Airport had almost 40,000 flight operations last year, making it the fourth busiest airport in Kansas, anticipated to increase by 10 to 15 percent in 2020. The third busiest airport in Kansas was New Century with over 57,000 flight operations last year.
• The Johnson County Airport Commission is one of a few general aviation airports in America that is completely self-sufficient in its operations and has not received any tax support from the county’s general fund since 2005.