April 2024 Edition

From the XD's Desk:

Salina Airport and Airport Industrial Center Makes a Local, Regional and State Economic Impact

Since the closure of the Former Schilling Air Force Base in 1965 the economic development partnership that includes the City of Salina, Salina Airport Authority, Saline County, Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, Salina Community Economic Development Organization, and the State of Kansas has successfully teamed to transform the former base into a vibrant regional airport and airport industrial center that serves as an economic engine for our community, region, and state. 

The partnership’s success is evident by the measurable impact on local, regional, and state economies. In 2021 The Docking Institute for Public Affairs at Fort Hays State University completed an assessment of the economic impact of private, educational, military, public, and non-profit sector activity at the Airport and Airport Industrial Center. The results were impressive and document the measurable economic impact that Airport and Airport Industrial Center activity has on our community, region, and state.

$1.3 Billion - Total economic impact private businesses and manufacturers, education, military, and nonprofits

7,100 jobs - Total employment 

18% - Percent of Saline County Employment 

$58,450 – Average annual income

$28.10 – Average hourly wage

The best is yet to come as new construction and planning projects are completed during the 2024-to-2026-time frame.

Salina Airport Construction Projects Underway - $34.5 Million

• New aviation fuel farm construction

• Hangar H626 rehabilitation

• Runway 12/30 rehabilitation

• New general aviation aircraft storage hangars

• M.J. Kennedy Air Terminal expansion

Airport Industrial Center Construction Projects Underway - $850 Million

• Schwans’ Food Company (Tony’s Pizza) – facility expansion

• Universal Forest Products – facility expansion

• Salina Area Technical College – Industrial Maintenance and Automation Building

• Kansas National Guard AASF equipment yard expansion

Airport Construction Projects - $72 Million 

• New MRO and paint hangar construction

• Runway 12/30 Rehabilitation 

K-State Salina Construction Projects - $75 Million 

• New Aerospace Innovation and Training Hub for Composite Materials 

• K-State Salina – K-AIRES Center for Advance Immersive Simulation 

25 - Year Salina Airport Development Planning – 300 Acres

• SLN West planning project will open another 300 acres of Salina Airport land for new aviation business growth.

The capital investment and construction and planning projects that occur over the next three years will add to the Airport and Airport Industrial Center an even greater community economic impact. 

Thank you for reading this edition of Reporting Points.

“The objective is to make use of the former base facilities to boost the community’s jobs and payroll.”Salina Mayor Robert Stark, April 1965

Tim Rogers, A.A.E.

Executive Director

Salina Airport Authority

Salina Regional Airport & Airport Industrial Center

Denver flights return to nonstop service 

Fly nonstop from SLN to DEN

Tim Unruh

Scheduled air service from Salina to Denver became more convenient on April 2 with the start of new nonstop flights to and from Denver. Nonstop Denver service by United Express, operated by SkyWest Airlines, is designed to give customers better connections to domestic and international destinations.


The new flight will connect with 78 domestic city pairs that offer over 160 connecting domestic flights. Foreign travel will also become easier with 18 unique international city pairs offered by United Airlines and United’s Star Alliance partners,” wrote Tim Rogers, Salina Airport Authority executive director, in his February newsletter report.


Daily flights from Salina depart at 6:29 a.m. Central Time, arriving in Denver at 7:05 a.m. Mountain Time.


Daily flights from Denver depart at 9:05 p.m. Mountain Time, landing in Salina at 11:29 p.m. Central Time. 

Read more

Local banker appointed to the SAA board of directors


Tim Unruh


After watching a major economic driver flourish in north-central Kansas for much of his professional life, Ryan Commerford decided it was high time to experience the Salina Airport Authority up close.


The chief financial officer at Bennington State Bank applied to serve on the SAA board of directors this spring and was welcomed at the March 20 meeting.


“I’m excited,” said Commerford, 47, who has worked in banking for more than 25 years, the last five with BSB.


“I’ve had a working relationship with the (SAA) board for several years, and have always been in tune with what they’ve been doing out there. I’ve worked with (Director of Administration and Finance) Shelli Swanson, providing input for the Airport Authority,” he said. “It was a board I wanted to be on, to continue to learn more about its economic impact, and in the midst of that, offer some professional expertise that I’ve developed over the last 25-plus years.”


Born and raised in Saline County, and a graduate of Southeast of Saline High School and Kansas State University, Commerford and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, Carly and Abby.

His three-year term on the Airport Authority board runs through Feb. 28, 2027.

Roberg re-appointed to SAA board of directors


Tim Unruh


A member of the Salina Airport Authority board since 2021, Tod Roberg was reappointed Feb. 26, by Salina Mayor Bill Longbine to another three-year term. It runs through Feb. 28, 2027.


Roberg has been active at the Salina Airport and Airport Industrial Center, with his company, T&R Construction, and as a private pilot. He also owns American Sand & Gravel and Salina Engine, both local firms.


Roberg is a co-developer in the $25 million South View Estates housing project, in southeast Salina. The project is adding much-needed workforce housing. 

AIM Center at SLN grads ascend toward lucrative opportunities

Salina Airport Authority leads efforts to recruit and train aviation maintenance workers

Tim Unruh


Success shined brightly March 7 when the first class from the AIM Center of Excellence at SLN graduated before some 75 well-wishers in Salina Airport Authority’s Hangar 600.


Nine students from varying walks of life received their K-State Salina micro-credentials after six weeks of training in the AIM Center’s pre-apprenticeship aviation maintenance training program.


Cube lamps built, painted, and wired by the students, were on display nearby.


“It went really well. There was a lot of excitement about it,” said Renee Duxler, president and CEO of the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce, which is marketing the fledgling program and recruiting students.


Pupils are targeted from a wide demographic, ranging from teenagers to adults, as organizers push to fill openings in the aviation industry.


“We’re getting a lot of interest from high school-aged students wanting to do it over the summer, and a few not in high school, some with a military background,” said Jaclyn Crow, director of economic and workforce development at the Chamber.


The opportunity to land rewarding aviation maintenance careers has appealed to callers from as far away as Leavenworth, Duxler said.

Read more

Dreiling Aviation Services awarded the SAA Chairman's Award of Excellence

Lindsey Dreiling, owner and CEO of Dreiling Aviation Services was presented the 2024 SAA Chairman's Award for Excellence. Dreiling Aviation Services continues to soar to new heights, guided by Lindsey's unwavering dedication to excellence and innovation in the world of aviation. 

The Chairman’s Award for Excellence was established to recognize the consultant or consulting firm that assists the Airport Authority board and staff to successfully achieve Core Values, goals, and objectives. The Chairman’s Award recognizes the fact that an outstanding consultant multiplies the effectiveness of the SAA board and staff efforts. The 2023 recipient was air service consultant Gary Foss.

Hangar project underway near airport terminal

Tim Unruh 

New shelters for general aviation aircraft are under construction at Salina Regional Airport, replacing nine hangars damaged or destroyed by a December 2021 derecho.


Defined as a long-lived windstorm, the derecho was declared a natural disaster.


The cost to repair the wind damaged obsolete hangars was prohibitive, said Maynard Cunningham, director of facilities and construction, so the decision was to rebuild.


The SAA did not qualify for insurance settlements, said Shelli Swanson, director of administration and finance, but was deemed eligible for Federal Emergency Management Agency assistance, which paid for $992,809 of the $3 million project cost.


The new C-Hangars — all pre-leased to aircraft owners — are being built just northwest of the M.J. Kennedy Air Terminal. “There are 13 units”, Cunningham said.


“How many aircraft can be stored depends on the size of the aircraft,” he said.

For example, one unit could house two Cessna 172s or one twin-engine Cessna310, Cunningham said.


Target date for completion of the current hangar project is July 1, he said. Contractors on site are Prairie Landworks, of McPherson and Bret Givens Construction, of Hutchinson. Salina based contractors are Precision Electrical Contractors, Dellinger Fence, and APAC.


The Airport Authority is looking for opportunities to build more GA hangars. There is a waiting list with names of 40 people wanting to lease hangar space at Salina Airport.


“You build in phases. It’s better to have a list of people waiting for hangars than a list of hangars waiting for people,” said Pieter Miller, deputy executive director of the Salina Airport Authority.

Runway 17/35 Closure at KSLN

April 15, 2024 – April 29, 2024

Runway 17/35 at the Salina Regional Airport will be closed beginning on Monday, April 15, 2024 through Monday, April 29, 2024. The closure is necessary to complete maintenance on the runway. The work will include replacing the 17 MALSR inground lighting and improvements to the Runway Safety Area. 

Runway 17/35 will reopen on Monday, April 29th pending no weather delays.

The runway closure is critical to the Salina Airport Authority’s ability to support a wide variety of civilian and military aircraft operators. The closure was scheduled to best match up with the flight operation’s schedules of numerous airport users. Completing the Runway 17/35 maintenance is critical to providing a safe operations at KSLN.

Runways 12/30 and 18/36 will remain open and available for use. Pilots using the Salina Regional Airport during runway closures are reminded to check SLN NOTAMS for details concerning associated closures.

For more information and the latest updates please call the Salina Airport Authority offices at 785.827.3914.    

Upcoming Events

Runway Safety Action Team Meeting

April 22, 2024

 Airport Users,

Runway incursions remain a serious concern nationally. One important component of our ongoing efforts to improve surface safety at SLN Airport involves conducting a Runway Safety Action Team (RSAT) meeting at least once each year. In conjunction with airport management, the meeting will be held in building H600 (2720 Arnold Ct, Salina KS, 67401) and via Zoom on April 22nd 10:00-11:00 AM CST.

To join the meeting through zoom, go to: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83416681418?pwd=eFBQVDYzMXdSUXF3SG9yWG5JL2d4UT09

Click the JOIN button; enter Meeting ID: 834 1668 1418 Passcode: 549658. If prompted, accept the Zoom application as instructed.

The purpose of this RSAT meeting is to unite those individuals and organizations that are actively involved in air traffic operations and movement of aircraft, vehicles, and equipment on the Airport Operations Area (AOA). We look for participation from all major airport interests including tenants, fixed base operators, airport operations and maintenance personnel. Participants are asked to help develop recommendations and solutions to enhance surface safety. Those recommendations serve as the foundation for a site-specific Runway Safety Action Plan. You are cordially invited to join us.

Your participation is important, and your input is welcomed. Please RSVP to First Last at brandon.walker@midwestatcs.com Include the name, organization, phone number and email address of those who will be attending.

If you have questions or need more information, please let me know. I can be reached at the contact information provided above.

On the Flightline at America's Fuel Stop

Airmen from all over the nation who fly the HC-130J Combat King II participated in the Rescue Rodeo at Salina Regional Airport. (Photos courtesy of Moody AFB Public Affairs)

Real Estate Available
AIM Center at SLN

AIM Center at SLN

Aircraft Rental/Charter Services at SLN

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Address: 3237 Arnold Ave.
Salina, Kansas 67401
Phone:  785-827-3914
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