- September 13, 2006, 7:40 AM

Ron Henriksen christened his new airport’s 5,000-foot runway on August 6
by making the first landing on the freshly built airport in his Piaggio Avanti. Henriksen is building Houston Executive Airport to serve business aviation in the busy I-10 corridor west of Houston, and he is not taking a single dollar of federal or state funds so that there will be no government interference with the facility. “It’s being built for business,” said Andrew Perry, airport director of the new airport just
west of Katy, Texas. “We want companies to locate their corporate hangars here.”

The first phase of the project is costing between $30 and $35 million, Perry said, including buying the airport’s 2,000 acres. Construction began last November.

Henriksen is also building the airport’s FBO, Henriksen Jet Center, which he will operate. While Henriksen is retaining the FBO and will be the sole fuel provider on the airport, he welcomes tenants who want to build aviation-related businesses. The airport’s land is divided into more than 1,200 acres for airport functions and 800 acres for industrial and commercial development. The airport will be operated, Perry said, “like a typical municipal airport authority. What sets us apart is that we have a lot less red tape.” The airport will happily negotiate reasonable terms with tenants, he explained, “because we want to see [companies] grow.”

The airport land overlays an old agricultural airstrip with the FAA designation of 78T. Henriksen is applying to change that to HEA, hopefully in time for the soft-opening early in the third quarter.