Alan Kristynik, one of two recently appointed members to Victoria County’s Airport Commission, knows whose input the airport needs to consider.

“It’s you, it’s me, as the citizens of this county” who will shape the airport’s direction, Kristynik said this week.

We are glad to see Kristynik is stepping into his new role with the community’s interests at the top of his mind.

Kristynik and the other recently appointed airport commissioner, Cliff Thomas, are joining the airport’s advisory board at a time of transition. Two separate studies, one of the airport’s runways and another related to business development opportunities, are nearing completion.

The results of these studies will help determine how best the airport can attract more planes to use its 9,111-foot runway and attract more businesses to its land.

As county officials pursue these projects, it is important for them to remember that the airport is, above all else, an asset to the community. It is Victoria residents who are most likely to travel on United Express commercial flights to Houston. It is Victoria residents who are most likely to shop at the airport’s businesses. It is Victoria residents who are most likely to work at any employers the airport is able to attract to the area. So we are glad to hear Kristynik understands the importance of taking the community’s interests into account.

Kristynik, a longtime consultant who has worked on projects with the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy and intelligence agencies, and Thomas, founder of the C.L. Thomas fuel distribution company, both bring decades of business experience to the Airport Commission. We are glad to see the airport drew interest from such qualified candidates.

As they and the other commissioners work with the airport’s director, Lenny Llerena, and other local officials to set the course of the airport’s future, we encourage them to reach out to the community early and often.

The airport can provide Victoria residents a gateway to Houston, and, from there, around the globe. But whether it’s encouraging public input at meetings, finding new ways to boost ridership on United Express flights or attracting businesses that residents can shop and work at, the airport should, first and foremost, be an asset for those who call Victoria home.

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This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate’s editorial board.

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