The City of Edinburg and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) on July 21, 2016, proudly celebrated the Ribbon Cutting and Grand Opening of the U. S. Department of Homeland Security – Customs and Border Protection – “User Fee” Facility for Federal Inspection Service at the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg (KEBG). Built at a cost of $1.3 million, the 4,500 square foot facility was a joint partnership between the city and EEDC as a matter of convenience for passengers and as an added opportunity for continued trade and commerce growth. (Photo courtesy of Edinburg Public Information Office)
South Texas International Airport at Edinburg
The Women of Aviation Worldwide Week was held on March 6-12 and the state of Texas can proudly boast three winners that helped to foster aviation awareness and help grow the number of women pilots.
Texas had two winners in the 2016 Most Dedicated Female Pilot Worldwide division, which is awarded to the registered female pilot who conducts the most reported flights (girls reporting divided by number of passenger seats) during the week. Dianna Stanger from Port Lavaca was the overall winner flying 574 girls during the week and Yasmina Platt from Houston was the first finalist.
The South Texas International Airport at Edinburg won the 2016 Most Female-Pilot-Friendly Airport Worldwide Award. This award was presented to the airport hosting one or more official activities that generate the most valid female first flight reports for the week, March 7-13, 2016.
The highly-successful Fly It Forward Challenge took place at the South Texas International Airport. The volunteer-based event was hosted by the airport and Calhoun Air Center, and was an opportunity to foster aviation awareness and help grow the number of women pilots.
The challenge invited pilots to introduce girls of all ages to flying with the goal of addressing the flight introduction gender gap and fostering gender balance in the industry. In addition to free rides, participants learned about the history of women in aviation, received information regarding necessary training and special scholarship opportunities.
The aim of Women of Aviation Worldwide Week is to help women feel welcome, valued and qualified to pursue aerospace based goals; to prepare female students through quality Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) curriculum and to expose girls to positive female role models.
“The WOAW initiative is one that I truly believe in and, after giving someone their first flight, it is one that each new passenger believes in,” said Calhoun Air Center Director Stanger. “Each year Calhoun Air Center tries to target a different location in order to make sure that those kids that are in different areas are able to experience the thrill I get each time I fly. It is one of the most remarkable weeks in terms of the volunteer time, flights given and lives touched.”
By Chris Sasser
Texas A&M Transportation Institute
All it took was a plane ride.
A few years ago, newly appointed South Texas International Airport at Edinburg (KEBG) Airport Manager Debora Melvin was taken for a plane ride by a visitor to her airport. That short ride stoked the aviation fire for Melvin and the City of Edinburg has benefited ever since.
Her recent efforts paid off this spring when Melvin won the 2013 General Aviation Manager of the Year award during the 31st Annual Texas Aviation Conference held in Austin May 13–15.
Melvin had worked for Edinburg for 10 years, assisting the airport from time to time with administrative duties. When the airport position opened up, she applied for the airport manager’s job. If one expected Melvin to be intimidated by her new position, one would be wrong.
“I’ve always been aggressive in getting things done,” said Melvin. “If I don’t know how to do something, I figure out how or find someone who does and then learn from them.”
One of the first steps Melvin took was joining the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). “That has been instrumental in my acquisition of knowledge and broadened my ideas of how to promote the airport and expand our level of services,” she said.
Among Melvin’s accomplishments are helping to secure funding and approval for much-needed improvements such as a runway structural capacity hot-mix asphalt concrete overlay and apron reconstruction, becoming a branded fuel dealer and developing a master plan and a detailed terminal-area development plan.
The airport also recently completed a new, full-length parallel taxiway, which improves safety and opens new areas of the airport for development.
The improvements in services and facilities have led to a 225 percent increase in operations and a 603 percent increase in Jet-A fuel sales, as well as an increase in lease revenues, such as a 13-year lease with the Texas Department of Public Safety– Aircraft Sector.
A few months ago, the airport also recently broke ground on a U.S. Customs User Fee Facility. Edinburg Airport will become one of 36 airports in the country designated as user-fee facilities. While not qualifying as an international or landing-rights facility due to insufficient volume of business, user-fee customs airports provide customs services for a fee.
“After the customs inspection facility is built, we’re going to lose some ramp space,” said Melvin. “So one of our main priorities is going to be to expand the apron and extend the taxilanes so we can promote more private development.”
When asked what it means to win the General Aviation Manager of the Year award, Melvin says she is proud to be the recipient. She is also quick to credit the support of city and economic development corporation, her involvement with AAAE and that initial plane ride.
“There’s no doubt the city and economic development corporation want the airport to succeed,” said Melvin. “I want them to be proud of who they have running their airport.”
For more information about the South Texas International Airport at Edinburg, visit their website at http://www.cityofedinburg.com/airport.php or their Airnav webpage at http://www.airnav.com/airport/KEBG.