Posted: Apr 29, 2014 3:02 PM
Updated: Apr 29, 2014 3:02 PM
DALLAS (AP) A vintage military aviation group known for its historic planes, air shows and education will move its headquarters from West Texas to Dallas.
Officials with the nonprofit Commemorative Air Force on Tuesday announced plans to relocate to city-operated Dallas Executive Airport. The CAF is currently based at Midland International Airport.
Organizers sought access to a larger metro area and considered airports in more than 20 cities.
What began as the Confederate Air Force was chartered in 1961 in Texas to restore and preserve World War II-era combat aircraft. The CAF in 2002 changed its name to the Commemorative Air Force, currently with about 9,000 members and a fleet of nearly 160 decommissioned military planes.
Midland Mayor Jerry Morales said Tuesday that CAF's decision to move its operations, and in particular its annual air show, was a blow to the Midland-Odessa region.
"It was very disheartening news to our community," Morales said.
The two-day air show each year drew 20,000 to 30,000 people to the Midland airport and served as an economic boon for the area, he said. Despite the CAF relocating to Dallas, the air show at least for this year will be held in Midland, Morales said. It's typically held in October.
The CAF preserves vintage aircraft and promotes military aviation. The organization was based in Harlingen before moving to Midland in 1991, according to The Dallas Morning News.
CAF president Stephan Brown said last year when plans to relocate were first announced that the group needs a higher national profile and larger population from which to draw more interest, the Morning News reports.
CAF officials did not return a call for comment.