The Conroe-North Houston Regional Airport near Conroe has developed into a major general aviation airport with a “National” rating, Airport Director James Brown told members of the Magnolia Rotary Club on Nov. 14.  

                 During his six years as airport director, Brown said he has seen air traffic double, with an average of 390 planes a day arriving or leaving.  Most are charters or corporate-owned aircraft.  Typically 15 to 20 arrivals are corporate jets bringing executives for meetings in the area.  Much of the traffic is derived from businesses on the north side of Houston.  

               The National category is the highest for a general aviation airport in the U.S., and regulatory agencies inspect the airport frequently to make sure it meets high standards, Brown said.  Financially, the Conroe-North Houston facility is healthy, with revenues nearly covering expenses, thus minimizing the need for state support.  Another way of looking at it, he noted, is that the airport generates an estimated $400 million per year in economic impact for the region, far in excess of any subsidies it receives.

               When looking for new locations, many companies put proximity to general aviation facilities high on their list of needs, Brown said.  Conroe North Houston, being near to  the north side of the Houston area and close to ground transportation, is a business attraction.  In addition, the airport now has a U.S. Customs facility, so planes can arrive directly from abroad.  After the Customs office was established, the airport had 350 international flights the second year, far exceeding expectations.