Plans to revitalize the North Omaha Airport are taking off

The airport’s owner wants to diversify the space.
Plans to revitalize the North Omaha Airport are taking off.
Published: Jan. 9, 2023 at 6:59 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Plans to revitalize the North Omaha Airport are taking off. The idea is to turn the airport into a “club-like” destination spot for leisure pilots.

“I’m really excited about it,” said Patrick Ackerman of Omaha. He’s flying high on new plans to bring the airport back to life. “As a pilot, as somebody who has travel to all corners of the U.S., flying my own plane you kind of see the opportunity.”

The North Omaha Airport was built in the 1940′s. It had its heyday in the 70′s and 80′s.

“This was the place to fly and a lot of people a lot of pilots in the area they have history out here,” said Ackerman.

In the 90′s, the airport housed mainly police helicopters. Ackerman bought the property in November 2021 when the helicopter operation moved to Blair.

Ackerman says the property is not eligible for most public funding programs since is neither within the city of Omaha or in a community development area. Ackerman is financing it himself and looking for investors who want to blend private aviation with hospitality.

Plans include tearing down the existing hangars and putting up an aviator’s hotel, including a 13,000-square-foot clubhouse.

“It’ll have a bar restaurant, lounge space, golf simulators, we talked about a spa, some fitness areas, so again, really kind of playing on the concept of country-club style for aviators,” Ackerman said.

Neighbors are cautiously optimistic. David Hayes who lives nearby said, “Generally I’m in favor of economic development.” However, he said, “there’s always a concern with increased traffic.”

To eliminate some potential problems, Ackerman says parking will be underground. He says he’s working with Public Works on environmental impact. While there are no plans to increase the size of the airport, the runway will be extended for safety reasons.

“It will be mostly single prop planes, single engine planes, maybe a few light twins,” Ackerman said. “Occasionally you’ll get a turbo prop that comes in and out.”

If all goes as planned, the project will land around the end of 2024 or beginning of 2025. A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 18th at 6:30 p.m. at the North Omaha Airport operations building.

In February, plans will go back to the city planning board. If approved, they’ll go on to city council.