It is always good news when a general aviation airport sees positive growth, such as the new business activity at Kerrville/Kerr County Airport (KERV), which is becoming a magnet for aerospace companies. KERV is the long-time location of Mooney International Corporation (formerly Mooney Aircraft) and is now home to Gulf Avionics after the company recently relocated their headquarters and operations into 7,000 square feet of space at one of the airport’s hangars. The move will create 50 avionics and aerospace jobs in the next five years. The new jobs, specifically the avionics technicians, will earn upward of $75,000 in annual wages, which will infuse more than $16 million into the local economy, according to the company.
The new Kerrville headquarters for Gulf Avionics is now servicing tenants on the field and has started the process of recruiting talent and hiring local employees as it grows its presence in Kerrville and throughout the Austin-San Antonio corridor, home to 4.5 million people.
“Kerr County is positioned in a very unique space within Texas. The beauty and expanse of the Hill Country lend itself to those that enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the feel of wide-open spaces,” said Chris Todtenhausen, vice president of business development for Gulf Avionics. “We devoted nearly a year in our search for a better location, which now provides easy access to a large group of targeted customers, and we expect to continue growing.”
With the addition of Gulf Avionics and other aviation companies joining Mooney at KERV, the airport now has a thriving “aerospace cluster” that is growing. Last year, the Kerr Economic Development Corporation (KEDC) announced that Killdeer Mountain Manufacturing, a North Dakota-based Tier-1 aerospace component manufacturer, is moving into a 40,000-square-foot facility at the Airport. The company will be creating 400 jobs, $8 million in capital investment, and generating $82 million in economic output to the area.
“This sector is growing incredibly fast, as leading aviation companies see numerous cost and workforce benefits, as well as our supply-chain network’s added value, to locating along this well-known corridor,” said Gil Salinas, executive director of KEDC. “Some real synergies are starting to develop between the companies, and it’s just exciting to help foster the growth of our aerospace cluster, which is aligned with the community’s 2050 Comprehensive Plan.”
Kerrville’s Mayor Bill Blackburn said, “Kerrville welcomes Gulf Avionics with open arms, as the company is set to create dozens of jobs and become a statewide leader in avionics services. It’s clear to us that companies are seriously looking at relocating to Kerr County, a rapidly growing commercial hub and home to manufacturers, medical facilities, and the aerospace sector.”
One reason that KERV is attracting aerospace companies is that within a one-hour flight of Kerrville, there are more than 1,500 aircraft owners and operators, which is up to five times the same market breakdown for cities of comparable size to Kerrville, according to Gulf Avionics.
“We are very excited to see Gulf Aviation come to Kerrville,” said Mark Mosier, board president of the Kerrville/Kerr County Airport. “Their comprehensive approach to aircraft maintenance will offer a variety of services that support corporate and general aviation in many areas. This diversification will bring both jobs and valued clients to the Kerrville area.”
Along with Mooney and Gulf Avionics, the Kerrville Airport aerospace cluster is also home to Dugosh Aviation, the Hill Country Aviation Flight School, Aeromax USA, and Air Evac EMS.