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      Mid-Valley Airport seeks to attract corporate clients from Latin America

      Weslaco Economic Development Corporation Building

      Officials hope the Mid-Valley Airport expansion in Weslaco will bring economic growth.

      It's now easier corporate clients from Latin America to land directly at the Mid-Valley Airport in Weslaco.

      "They like the opportunity to come to a small airport. It offers them what they need and be able to go about their business," said Hernan Gonzalez, the executive director of the Weslaco Economic Development Corporation.

      An on-call customs facility opened at the Mid-Valley Airport in May.

      Before that, businessmen had to land at one of the Rio Grande Valley's international airports first to check in with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

      But now, plans are under way to make things even more convenient for clients flying into this small airport.

      "You see the runway in the background," said George Garrett, the airport's aviation director. "It'll come completely across Sugar Cane and extend out another thousand feet."

      That will lengthen the runway to six thousand feet.

      Right now, the airport supports small and medium jets and the project's aim is to attract larger corporate jets.

      They are in Phase 1 of the project right now which includes the engineering design and an environmental impact study.

      Then it's on to Phase 2, which involves construction and is expected to be finished by 2013.

      Right now, the airport services about 400 aircrafts a year.

      "We're looking to be able to increase that number exponentially by people investing in the Mid-Valley where the growth is still continuing to go," said Garrett.

      Gonzalez said investors from both sides of the border will benefit from the improvements to the airport.

      "Business owners typically have business up and down the border, so it's a convenient location to fly in and fly out and its congestion free, and in this world, time is money," said Gonzalez.

      Once word spreads what Weslaco has to offer, Gonzalez said he's sure the Valley will reap the benefits of an economic boom.