Conway Mayor Tab Townsell has announced the hiring of Josh Zylks as manager of Conway’s new airport, Cantrell Field. Zylks will come on board in early June in anticipation of the opening of the airport in mid-August. He is currently airport manager at South Arkansas Regional Airport in El Dorado, following an internship at Monroe Regional Airport in Monroe, La.

Zylks said he was interested in applying for the Cantrell Field airport manager position because opening a new airport is a rare opportunity in the aviation industry.

"In general aviation there aren’t many opportunities to build a brand new airport," Zylks said. "The team that the city has in place has a good vision to make the airport the premier aviation destination of Central Arkansas, and I’m excited to come on board and make that vision a reality."

Zylks has a Bachelor of Science in Aviation Management from Louisiana Tech University, and a Masters of Business Administration from Louisiana Tech. Zylks is a native of El Dorado, and was valedictorian of his graduating class. He was an Eagle Scout with Boy Scouts of America, and is a member of the Aviation Management Society, and the National Aviation Honor Society, Eta Mu Sigma.

Zylks said he is most looking forward to "opening a brand new facility that I think our customers will be pleased with and providing service that they will look forward coming back to."

As in El Dorado, Zylks will be responsible for all aspects of airport management, including compliance with all Federal and State regulations. He will manage city owned FBO operations, lineman duties, tenant relations and leases, finance and budget, airport maintenance and fueling operations. Additional responsibilities will include working with the Federal Aviation Administration and the Arkansas Department of Aeronautics as well as marketing and public relations associated with the airport.

The South Arkansas Regional Airport in El Dorado offered scheduled commercial airline service via SeaPort Airlines in addition to general aviation and corporate flight departments.

"With a sole focus on general aviation [at Cantrell Field]," Zylks said, "we’ll have more opportunities to serve customers on an individual basis."

Like all things new, Zylks said, everything will be a challenge, but the biggest challenge will be completing the transition from the old airport to the new airport.

"Some of the challenges will be similar, but the biggest challenge will be getting all of the pieces of the new facility completed and open on time," he said. "I’m looking forward to getting our name out there and showing people what we have to offer as seamlessly as we can."

Zylks was selected from sixty-six applicants for the manager’s position. The Conway Airport Advisory Committee chose ten finalists for telephone interviews. Zylks was among the top finalists and was interviewed by Mayor Townsell. He was offered the position on May 15 and accepted shortly thereafter.

The new Cantrell Field is scheduled to be completed in mid-August, and will feature a 100 foot wide 5,500 foot runway with full length taxiway. A 6,300 square foot terminal building is currently under construction, and work on T-hangars, community hangars and corporate hangars will begin soon. The airport will be protected by a state of the art security and gating system. (Staff writer Michelle Corbet can be reached by email at or by phone at 505-1215. Send us your news at