Charter Customers and Casinos


Hello everyone. First post.

Recently KS passed a law that allows state run destination casinos. I live in Sumner Co and we are one of the locations chosen to host a destination resort (min $250,000,000 build).

The airport I manage is the only paved airport in the county. I am wondering how many of your customers frequent casinos? The airport is KEGT.

We have been talking to Tunica, using them as an example of what may happen here. I would like to get some industry thoughts on this possible increase in traffic and flights into my airport. If you have a customer going to a casino, do they like to land as close as possible, or will they land 10 more miles away if there is less traffic to deal with?

Thanks all, any information will be helpful.


Your “friends” to enter correct direction here since I am too lazy to look on GoogleEarth in KC see all kinds of traffic at MKC (including “Air Force 2”). Granted, they have that one decent runway in 1/19 to handle that, but before the Indian casinos starting popping up all over Oklahoma, KC, Bossier City-Shreveport (which has the luxury of 2 airports), and Tunica were the cities of choice for those that had personal aircraft for gambling.

Realize, that I am speaking as a casino customer, one that would rather go to KC, BC-S, of Tunica than the Indian casinos here in OK. I know that there is a group at RVS that are in the same frame of mind.

Being something new (marketing, event planning experience talking here), you will more than likely see a huge increase in traffic, especially if you go through the effort of showing that you want to possibly expand the runway (if feasible), build new hangars for overnighters, even get the casinos to pitch in and work some deals with them for customers (ex: while the owner of the plane may not pay you for the hangar space overnight, it is included in his room rate at said casino, they in turn pay you, shuttle service there when they land, etc). Give pilots a reason to fly into your airport instead of going somewhere else. How much that increase will be and how long you sustain that increase is, in the end, up to you (meaning the airport folks).

Get a list of the casino(s) that are heading your direction. Make the effort to work with them. Propose ideas that will include them, that way, while the worst that can happen is a “no”, you at least show the initiative to improve the area.

Again, this is just coming from someone that doesn’t run an airport, just would rather fly out of OK and stay out of the Indian casinos. Hope it does help though.


Thanks for the info.

I am looking forward to the possibilities that this resort could bring in. Once the city of Wellington decides on a few proposals from different developers we will submit them to the state for selection. If one of our proposals is selected then I will be able to work with them on expansions and services from this airport. It is amazing to think of what all could happen to this little strip.


Tunica is a good example of what can happen…


It would seem to me that if your looking at charter operations coming to your airport that the short runway length and the fact that alot of Part 135 operators still don’t fly RNAV(GPS) approaches, which leave KEGT with a VOR/DME and NDB, would hurt your chances.

Of course 4200’ would be acceptable for most corporate jet operators ie. NJA, Flight Options, or BJS. But larger operators such as Rich, TWA et al. aren’t going to be going into KEGT.


I agree. We are going to be limited to select companies. We are currently updating our AMP and I am trying to arrange all our ACIP projects in order of importance to include a runway extension. The FAA will not allow us to “just extend” however we will need at least indicated interest from some of the companies that they do have customers that frequent casinos and will want to fly into KEGT. I have sent out questionnaires to many OK, KS, and CO charter companies in an attempt to get some written indication of future possible use.



Build it, and they will come…


Why is that? New Tech, company policy, insurance restriction?

We are getting WAAS early next year and I am hoping that the reduced minimums and vertical guidance will help increase our IFR traffic.

Any idea why charter ops are not more on board with GPS approaches?


Rich and TWA will never fly to EGT, regardless of the length of the runway and other facilities. Neither has been flying for years. The former was grounded and the latter is now part of American.


NJA is all I can speak about with any kind of first hand knowledge. NJA is not approved by it’s POI to fly VNAV RNAV(GPS) approaches in any of it’s a/c. For that matter most of the a/c themselves can’t do it either, I really don’t know why. The XL has never been approved for VNAV approaches. So LPV and WAAS seem even more unlikely in the near future. The company policy comes from the manufactures limitation. The manufactures limitation on the XL comes from Honeywell, no one has tested the FMZ/CE560XL LNAV combo. (although I was told by Cessna in Oct '02 that it was coming anytime).

From a trainers perspective. I really don’t understand why more operators aren’t on board with GPS approaches. most of the pilots I train will take a VOR over a GPS any day. I think it goes back to training. back when they were learning in the 172 they didn’t have GPS, so they became more comfortable with it. I agree, GPS is the way to go, and the fact that any airport could potentially get a RNAV(GPS) approach you would think there would be a bigger push for it. Add VNAV or LPV and WOW, 300’ DH at almost any airport.

Right now NJA has their recurrent crews flying 8 approaches over 3 days. Only 1 is a GPS. 4 are ILS’s, 1 LOC (BC), 1 VOR, 1 NDB. The fact is most crews don’t even set up the approach properly, their ok if they’re cleared to an IAF, but if they are receiving vectors they mess up the sequencing in the FMZ and don’t intercept final correctly.

I gotta bet it all comes down to money. Cessna doesn’t want to do it b/c it requires more flight testing and operators aren’t asking for it. NJA doesn’t need it because most of their flights go into larger airports. So why push the manufacture and training budget?

That’s just my $.02.

You are correct. Not sure why those two were the first that jumped to mind. Maybe Pan-Am or Sun Country :slight_smile:


Which makes a real dilemma for small GA airport manager like myself. When we have to plan out 20 years into the future for projects it makes it unrealistic to put in a brand new ILS system. Why spend the money on an ILS system when we are getting WAAS and most aircraft instrumentation is moving into GPS? It seems to be a catch 22 right now, we have the more up to date technology and do not want to spend money on the “old” technology, but the planes themselves are not certified on the new technology and the companies operating them prefer the “old” stuff…


We talk about that at work all the time, a new C172 has more advanced avionics then our $14,000,000.00 XL. What’s up with that?

I also used to manage an FBO at a county owned airport. We couldn’t do much about the airport itself so it was all marketing for us.

Good luck to you. I’m not a gambler so I’m not going to be coming out to KEGT anytime soon, but if I do you can be sure I’ll buy a few 100gal of your finest JetA.


Every one of the 135 ops that I have worked for or run was allowed GPS approaches – we had equip from Beech and Piper. We didn’t have to do anything special to get those other than have the required equipment (nothing special there). However, having an ILS and a 5000’ min. runway would open the door to much more opportunity.

The 135 operators have to plan on more runway than what they need, and this is an issue that on the front burner because of the SWA accident at Chicago Midway. Additionally, in inclement conditions, the 135 operator has to plan on even more distance. With an ILS, you will open the door to more opportunity – take one look at KAAO (Jabara-Wichita) traffic count since adding the ILS, and you will see a nice increase in traffic count.

As to Part 91 operators, I think it will depend on the equipment. Some larger 91 operations run to a 135 standard to get lower insurance premiums. Additionally, if the aircraft is a commuter category aircraft (no matter what part ops they operate under), they have to at least adhere to the higher of balanced field length for takeoff (highest of accel-stop, accel-go, all engines takeoff distance), weight to meet takeoff climb requirements, or brake/tire energy/speed (whichever is highest). If the aircraft is 135 and commuter category, then there are more requirements.

For example, for our aircraft, using your 4200’ runway with a 10 kt headwind component, we would be limited to the following: at max weight, no hotter than 39 C (max weight to achieve t/o climb requirements); tire speed isn’t an issue for us; and, at 39 C, we would be limited to a max t/o weight of 14,000 lbs (900 lbs under max gross) for balanced field requirements (a 5000’ runway would work for our plane).

I don’t think that you could go wrong with a 1000’ extension of your runway, nor do I think the addition of an ILS would hurt either (just make sure it is to Rwy 17 as most of the strong stuff comes up from the south…). Why ILS over WAAS – most charter aircraft are not new, and the FAA will never have a problem certifying an operator for ILS approaches – play to the largest niche, not the smallest.

Good Luck!


Wish I had gotten that lucky…Anyway NJA allows GPS but not VNAV, LPV approaches.

Right on the money. The latest and greatest isn’t that grand if no one can use it. Like having an HDTV 5 years ago.