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February 27, 2014

Fort Worth PD is moving helicopters to Meacham Airport

The Fort Worth Police Department will break ground on a new home for its helicopters next month at Fort Worth Meacham Airport, a city official said Thursday.

The hangar will allow police to expand their air support fleet and can handle multiple helicopters, said Bill Welstead, director of Fort Worth’s airport system.

“The new facility is truly going to allow them to meet their demands within this growing city,” Welstead said. Currently, the Police Department keeps its helicopters at its training facility near downtown.

The police hangar is one of several construction projects planned for Meacham, which has more than 100,000 aircraft operations each year with private jets and wide-body planes landing at the north-side airport.

At a Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Welstead outlined multimillion-dollar projects to improve taxiways, runway aprons and a perimeter road for fuel trucks. Recently, the airport replaced 30-year-old asphalt on a runway apron using $2.3 million in federal funding.

“Meacham looks old. It is old. But we have the ability to polish this airport,” Welstead told the audience that included local business leaders.

The airport is expected to begin renovating its administration building in December, a $17 million project funded by federal and state aviation dollars. Welstead said the four-story building will be completed in 18 months and the airport has already leased out an entire floor to a tenant.

Several airport tenants are also renovating and upgrading hangar facilities at the airport, Welstead said. Texas Jet, a fixed-base operator, completed construction of a new hangar and American Aero recently renovated the old American Airlines hangar.

The airport also hopes to attract more shows and events like AirportFest which was part of the Aircraft Owners and Pilot Operators’ national convention held in Fort Worth last October, Welstead said.

-Andrea Ahles

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