City of WF may privatize Kickapoo Airport

WICHITA FALLS, Tx (RNN Texoma) - The City of Wichita Falls is considering privatizing Kickapoo Airport. At the Beginning of March, the city issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) in early March.

Deputy City Manager Jim Dockery said the city is trying to save money and increase efficiency in certain operations. They believe privatizing Kickapoo Airport may be a viable option.

He said, "Kickapoo Airport is one of the operations that in some cities are operated by what's called a fixed based operator or a private contractor."

Right now, the city is the Fixed Based Operator (FBO). About 20 years ago, the airport was privately operated until the city bought it. Now they think that a private FBO would be better for the airport.

Dockery said, "Sometimes larger operations that do this in other areas can capitalize on maybe purchasing power or economies of scale. So, sometimes they can do things cheaper."

Stakeholders of the airport--which services general aviation aircraft--are concerned about what will happen if it goes private.

Dockery wants them to know that the city is just testing the waters, "Try to be patient. Let us go through the process. If there is change that is about to take place in the future, we will work with the users out there at the airport to make sure they fully understand what the changes would be and how that might impact them."

The City of Wichita Falls has the RFP located on their website. In it, it details the qualifications that a private operator should have, such as: three years experience, an operations plan, financial strength, a customer service plan, references, a lease agreement, and staffing.

Those that use and do business at the airport are holding a meeting on March 15 at 6 p.m. on Hanger 88 to discuss their concerns and the possible changes the airport may undergo.