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Dallas Could Be Getting Its Third Commercial Airport

Residents of McKinney, Texas, will vote on whether to approve the construction of a new commercial terminal at McKinney National Airport

by Fergus Cole

February 9, 2023

Photo: Dallas Love Field Airport. Courtesy of Gabriel Tovar / Unsplash

Plans to build a new commercial terminal at McKinney National Airport (TKI) in Dallas are underway after council members voted in favor of its construction.

Members of the McKinney City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday, February 7, to allow the public a vote on a $200 million bond package that would be used to build a brand-new commercial passenger terminal at the city’s existing, one-runway airport.

The decision comes after officials at the airport showed their approval of the expansion plans last month, and a vote will now be put to McKinney residents on May 6.

“We’re going to let the citizens of McKinney decide if it’s a thing they want to bring the community,” said Ken Carley, director of McKinney National Airport.

Airport officials have said that the project has been in the works for years, citing the Dallas area’s ever-growing population and the desire of both airlines and residents for a third commercial airport.

Dallas residents are already served by Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)—one of the busiest airports in the world—and Dallas Love Field Airport (DAL), but both are reportedly nearing total capacity.

“This region will support not just a third, but a fourth airport, and over time, probably a fifth,” said McKinney Mayor George Fuller. “We are in one of the highest growth areas in the entire country. We have two airports that are nearing capacity now.”

Photo: Dallas. Courtesy of Gabriel Tovar / Unsplash

McKinney National Airport, located in the city’s northern suburbs, is used primarily for private charter aircraft and pilot training. However, McKinney has seen tremendous population growth as people move out of the city in recent years. The local airport’s officials have suggested that the distance between Dallas’ other airports is inconvenient for its residents.

“By the time you get to one of the other airports, and you’re parked and everything, you’re already stressed out before you’re even stepping into the terminal with the drive and the parking situation,” said Carley. “So, I just think for us, it’ll hopefully be a more convenient and a more pleasant travel experience, is what we’re really trying to deliver.”

If McKinney residents vote to approve the construction of a new commercial flight terminal, it is expected that the project will last up to two years and wouldn’t open its doors to passengers until 2026. However, the mayor warned that the upcoming vote is just one hurdle of many more to come and that no guarantees are in place.

“If you’re pro-airport, [this election] doesn’t ensure that the airport is going to be built,” said Fuller. “If you’re anti-airport, it doesn’t mean the airport is going to be built. It means that we have taken a step in the many, many steps required before we get to the place where we are saying ‘I do’ at the altar.”