St. Cloud Regional Airport, Waiting In The Wings

Each year, the Minnesota Council of Airports and the Minnesota Department of Transportation Office of Aeronautics sponsors the Minnesota Airports Conference in a different city in the state and the local airport is the host for the event. This year the conference will be held April 15-17, 2015 at the River’s Edge Convention Center in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and St. Cloud Regional Airport (KSTC) is the host airport.

St. Cloud Regional Airport is owned and operated by the City of St. Cloud. The airport consists of 1,400 acres. The predominant features of the airport include two intersecting runways, associated parallel taxiways, the airline terminal building and support area, an airport rescue and firefighting facility, a general aviation area that is home to a full-service fixed base operator, an air traffic control tower, and an Army Aviation Support Facility (AASF).

St. Cloud Regional Airport has two runways: 13-31, and 5-23. Runway 13-31 is 7,000 feet long and 150 feet wide, and Runway 5-23 is 3,000 feet long and 75 feet wide. Runway 5-23 has bituminous pavement and Runway 13-31 is composed of 12-inch thick, steel reinforced concrete. The runways and taxiways were originally constructed in 1969, but have since been reconstructed and Runway 13-31 has been lengthened.

Both runways have full-length parallel taxiways. Taxiway A provides direct access from both the passenger terminal area and the general aviation area. Runway 5-23 is served by taxiway D, a 40-foot wide full-length parallel taxiway located on the north side of the runway.

Navigation aids include non-precision and precision landing aids, and lighting systems.

There is an Instrument Landing System (ILS) with Medium Intensity Approach Lighting and Runway Alignment Indicator Lights (MALSR) for both Runway 13 and 31. Non-precision landing aids on Runway 13-31 include a VHF omni-directional radio range (VOR), distance measuring equipment (DME), and non-directional beacon (NDB). The airport also has localizer performance with vertical guidance (LPV) approaches to Runways 13 and 31, and lateral navigation (LNAV) approaches to Runways 5 and 23.

Runways 13-31 have high intensity runway lights (HIRLs) and Precision Approach Path Indicator (PAPI) lights. Runways 5-23 have medium intensity runway lights (MIRL). Other airport features include an airport beacon, a compass rose and a lighted windsock with a segmented circle.

The airport’s field maintenance facilities are located in the T-hangar area. There are 74 city-owned and maintained T-hangar bays located on the west side of the general aviation area. The City of St. Cloud owns and leases all of the storage T-hangars, with the exception of one hangar, which is owned by St. Cloud State University, which until recently had a thriving aviation campus on the airport for decades.

There are two fixed base operators: Wright Aero and St. Cloud Aviation. General aviation services include based and transient aircraft storage, fuel sales, aircraft rental, air charter, aircraft and avionics maintenance, and flight instruction. These businesses have approximately 40,000 square feet of combined aircraft storage and maintenance hangar space, and a cumulative tie-down apron area of approximately 7,700 square yards. St. Cloud Aviation operates out of the general aviation terminal arrival/departure building that is owned by the city. Other operators on the airport include the Army National Guard, Civil Air Patrol, and an agricultural aero application business. The Army Aviation Support Facility operates 12 helicopters: six Chinooks and six Blackhawks. The facility was completed in March 2009.

St. Cloud Regional Airport completed construction of its air traffic control contract tower in the fall of 2004.

The Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting (ARFF) facility is manned 24/7. The airport meets the required FAA Index A minimums for ARFF equipment and agents.

The airline terminal building was expanded in 2009 from 10,000 to 19,000 sq. feet. There are two airline ticket counters and associated office and support areas, a sandwich shop, car rental area that can accommodate up to three car rental companies, airport administrative offices, and a conference room.

St. Cloud Regional Airport is classified as a “transport category airport” by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), and is certified under Part 139 of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs). The airport, therefore, qualifies as a primary air carrier airport in Minnesota, and its role as a reliever to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (KMSP) is expected to expand in the future. One might say that St. Cloud Regional Airport is waiting in the wings! High-speed rail service between the two airports is a distinct possibility considering they are only 53 nm apart, and the number of people commuting between St. Cloud and the Twin Cities via Interstate 94 continues to increase.

St. Cloud Regional Airport had approximately 30,000 operations in 2014, and served 60,000 passengers on Allegiant Air and United Airlines, and charters operated by Sun Country Airlines. Allegiant Air has been operating at St. Cloud Regional Airport since December 2012, flying the MD-80 and Airbus A319. Allegiant Air generally flies twice weekly to Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport.

St. Cloud Regional Airport is vital to the ongoing development and economic growth of St. Cloud and surrounding communities. According to the latest economic impact study completed in 2012, St. Cloud Regional Airport has a $20 million annual economic impact on the community. There are approximately 95 employees working for various tenants at the airport.

At the helm of St. Cloud Regional Airport is Bill Towle, who has been airport manager since 2002. Towle received his bachelor’s of science degree in aviation from the University of North Dakota in 1993. Prior to accepting his current position, Towle was manager at Dickinson, N.D. from 1998-2002 (

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