Our April Partner Spotlight shines on Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK): the services it provides and the future plans for its expansion — shared with us by the Airport Manager, Rick Johnson.
What are the basic services your position with the City of Frederick offers?
My position is to manage one of the City’s most unique assets – its general aviation airport – as safely and efficiently as possible. Frederick Municipal Airport sees over 80,000 aviation operations a year and is home to 200+ based aircraft, the National Headquarters for the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 524, seven aviation businesses, numerous flying clubs, and the Maryland State Police Aviation Detrachment “Trooper 3.”
City residents benefit from having a nearby airport that can accommodate large business-class aircraft and other beneficial aviation services — from emergency medical evacuation flights to training the next generation of pilots, and everything in between.
Tell us your favorite part of the job.
I truly enjoy taking part in the planning and safe execution of special events such as the 80th anniversary AOPA fly-in (May 10 & 11) which allows us to showcase the airport to the community. This upcoming event, for example, will allow Frederick residents the opportunity to see a WWII Airborne Demonstration Team, a Short Takeoff and Landing invitationl, and even an evening drone show — some really unique aviation experiences. The full schedule is available online here.
Can you share any news, plans in the works
(hangars/runway extension, etc) with our readers?
The airport has a robust capital development plan that includes a runway extension, taxiway relocation, and multiple hangar development opportunities.
The Airport's main runway is planned to be lengthened by 600 feet to 5820' ft by 2020. The extension will increase the safety margins for all aircraft and allow larger corporate jets to operate out of Frederick with greater fuel & passenger load. FDK has received two grants - totaling over $4 million - for the final stages of runway obstacle removal and the design phase of the project.
This past December, the City awarded a lease of a 620,000 SF site at FDK to AOPA for the development of a hangar complex consisting of up to 194,400 square feet of general aviation aircraft hangars. Under the terms of the multi-year lease agreement, AOPA will assume responsibility for the phased design, construction, and management of the new multi-hangar complex. The new hangar complex will nearly double storage capacity at our rapidly expanding airport.
Each of these components aligns with our vision of becoming the preferred executive airport in the National Capital Region by creating a more capable facility to better serve aviation users.
Tell us the primary way your position and the airport interacts
with Frederick and area businesses?
Simply put, the airport interacts with businesses by helping them accomplish their goals. By providing a safe, convenient facility that can be utilized year-round for the transportation of business executives, clients, site selection teams, goods and other services, the airport helps local employers save time and extend their reach.
The airport is an incredible economic driver for the area. A 2018 study by the Maryland Aviation Administration found activity at the facility to generate over 1,100 actual & estimated jobs, and over $100 million in business revenue.
Have you noticed any New Trends in Business Aviation?
A current trend in the market is the increased use of fractional or on-demand operators such as NetJets and Wheels Up. Many small and medium businesses don’t have the resources to operate a corporate flight department, yet still understand the value and flexibility that business aviation offers over conventional airlines. This is a market where we see significant opportunity and in which FDK is well-equipped to support. We’re excited for our airport’s future.