KSNL Aero proposes large-scale development at airport

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star

Shawnee's Airport Advisory Board has set a special call meeting next week to discuss a Capital Development proposal, and also to go into executive session about a pending investigation, claim or action, according to the agenda released Thursday.

KSNL Aero is gearing up for a large expansion project that will not only change the look of the airport campus, but add new amenities, like restaurants.

The agenda memo states the business plans to construct:

• a 40,000 square foot hangar-type facility

• two small hangar-type facilities

• five small hangar-type facilities

• a two-story restaurant/office structure

• a restaurant food-court structure

• a rental car facility

• an employee parking lot

KSNL Aero is proposing a large-scale development project on the Shawnee Regional Airport campus.

KSNL Aero understands and agrees that Aeronautical Activity has priority in all on-airport leasing projects, the memo reads.

“Keeping this in mind, we have picked some of the areas of the airport that have little or no priority for aviation use,” KSNL Owner Darrin Lofton said. “The areas that we are proposing to build two aviation-themed restaurants are located in areas of the airport that would have no access to the airport ramps or runway, thereby giving priority to other areas of the airport which are more suitable for building structures for Aeronautical Activities and, at the same, time bringing revenue to the City of Shawnee from these currently non-leased areas.”

The proposed employee parking lot is separated from the ramp and runway areas by a large drainage ditch, he said.

“The area where we are proposing a rental car facility has been historically blocked by the rental car companies needing space to park their vehicles, and the addition of a car wash facility in this area for the rental car companies will keep the ramp areas meant for aeronautical use free from rental car traffic as well,” he said.

Once the proposal is approved, Lofton said he can move forward with planning schedules.

“A preliminary estimate of two years from start to completion is our current thought with no obstruction to daily airport activities,” he said. “However, due to the current shortage of iron materials from the manufacturers because of COVID shutdowns across the United States we may need to make some adjustments to our completion dates.”

KSNL Aero is asking for separate 40-year lease agreements on each of the leased areas.

“As our preliminary plans show we intend on utilizing at least 90 percent of each area leased,” the agenda memo reads.

At this point KSNL Aero owns 13 Cessna Caravan 2088 Aircraft with PT6-114A and the market analysis for its fleet engine overhauls alone would require at least the addition of five additional employees, Lofton said.

“We have added overhaul capability to our repair station license and have begun the process of tooling up for overhauling our own fleet of aircraft,” he said.

The rental car facility is a needed addition to the airport, he said, and several companies appear very interested in leasing this facility.

“We need to have parking for the facilities and thus the reason for the employee parking lot, which could also be utilized in the future as longterm/short-term parking,” Lofton said.

He said the two restaurants would bring aeronautical business to the airport and OBU, Gordon Cooper and the hospital, as officials are excited about the additions for their employees to have a place to go close to their work or campus.

The meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Shawnee Regional Airport, 2202 Airport Drive, in Shawnee.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.