WESLACO, TEXAS – The Economic Development Corporation of Weslaco announces the opening of the Texas Aviation Academy (TAA) Part 141 flight school, a full service aviation provider.
Owner Jeremy Reiley, of Harlingen, Texas, secured a long term lease at the Mid Valley Airport in Weslaco, through an EDC incentive package earlier this month with plans to begin enrolling students in the flight school in January/February, 2019. TAA is affiliated with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia and considered to be one of the top faith based universities offering a bachelors degree in aeronautics as well as traditional means of financial aid.
The flight school is said to fill a national pilot shortage as reported in Forbes Magazine in July, 2018. The article quotes Boeing projecting “the need for 790,000 new pilots by the year 2037, to meet growing demand,…” for travel and new aircraft entering the global fleet.
The Weslaco location will be the second owned flight school for the Reiley family. The first acquisition occurred in New Braunfels, Texas, in July 2018, where over 30 students are now enrolled.
TAA is expected to staff the flight school with two certified flight instructors, a director of operations, a chief pilot and full time mechanic. The airplane engine mechanic will also serve the needs of the entire airport as part of the City’s return on investment. The addition of the flight school to the Mid Valley Airport will increase overall airport activity including fuel sales, the number of take offs & landings, hangar rentals and an increase in property taxes through the reporting of aircraft.
In a presentation to the EDC board in November, 2018, owner Jeremy Reiley reported that flight schools were typically the best way to grow general aviation airports. Reiley explained that “without growing pilots, no one is buying airplanes, hangars are no longer needed to store airplanes and when no one is flying, no one is buying fuel.” He went on to say that the opposite happens when new pilots are entering the aviation industry.
Reiley says he did look at other airports in the Valley, but was convinced that Weslaco’s central location in the region, the extended runway, it’s proximity to the expressway and the Progreso International Bridge, that Weslaco was the best fit for the school’s future plans.
The Mid Valley Airport services international flights through on-site Customs inspections and has future plans to increase its runway by another 1,000 feet. The airport is located in the Weslaco Mid Valley Industrial Park. For more information on TAA’s future plans, contact the EDC office at 956-969-0838.