Commissioners Break Ground on New Aircraft Ramp
Punta Gorda, FL (Sept. 30, 2020) – The Charlotte County Airport Authority (Airport Authority) recently broke ground on the first phase of Punta Gorda Airport’s Aviation Expansion Area, called PGD AviEx. The property is strategically located between Tampa and Miami in a Foreign Trade Zone at a small-hub commercial airport with utilities available and two direct connections to Interstate 75.
PGD AviEx is the largely undeveloped tract of land parallel to Challenger Road where the Florida International Air Show was based the last few years. The runway-adjacent area is planned to become a hub for general aviation (GA) activities to flourish, as well as a prime spot for onsite flight schools, avionics and aircraft maintenance services, and related training programs to expand.
$18 million in Airport Authority projects will be constructed in several phases. The first phase that broke ground is a 650,000-square-foot ramp, or aircraft parking area, and the extension of Taxiway E. Construction on the second phase is expected to begin in late 2020 and includes the GA Center (including FBO operations), associated access roads and parking, and the site work for 10 larger 60×60 hangars. These larger hangars, along with a new row of 24 T-Hangar units, will likely to be constructed during the third phase in 2021.
Although PGD AviEx is a new name, these projects have been several years in the making. PGD’s Master Plan Update, approved by the FAA in 2018, thoughtfully maps out continued growth in commercial air service by relocating existing GA activities that are currently adjacent to the Bailey Terminal to the north side of the airport.
Located within the boundaries of the Punta Gorda Interstate Airport Park, PGD is already home to a strong aerospace and aviation community, including professional avionics and aircraft service providers, flight schools, luxury charters, an air ambulance and a new Aviation Maintenance Technician School that Charlotte Technical College will launch in August 2021. PGD also has a Civil Air Patrol squadron, Experimental Aircraft Association and 217 onsite T-Hangars that are in high demand.
Aviation-related businesses and GA activity are all currently contained within 90 acres surrounding commercial air service operations, and there is a lack of available office and hangar space to lease.
Airport Authority Commissioner Kathleen Coppola, who has served on the Board since 1990, has been a proponent of developing the airport’s north side for the last decade. “This is a monumental time for PGD,” said Coppola. “Our commercial success has brought us to this point, and now we need to develop the PGD AviEx so there’s room for aviation-related businesses to grow.”
The Airport Authority’s new 13,000-square-foot GA Center (GAC) will be the feature of PGD AviEx. In addition to the 2,500-square-foot dining area, the GAC will offer an inviting lobby, conference room, flight catering staging area, nine leased offices/flight instruction rooms, and two event/meeting rooms. The Airport Authority’s Fixed Base Operator (FBO) staff, who provide fueling, tie-down and ground-handling services for private aircraft, will also be based there.
Airport Authority Commissioner Robert Hancik is a longtime pilot and airport tenant who is looking forward to making the new GAC the heart of aviation in Charlotte County. “Our general aviation community will have a first-class facility to call home, and it will draw visiting pilots, charters and private jets to Punta Gorda to enjoy the onsite restaurant and explore the surrounding area,” said Hancik.
The Airport Authority will be scheduled to award the bid for construction of the GAC at its October 15, 2020 Board Meeting. In early 2021, the Airport Authority will be seeking potential restauranteurs interested in funding, designing and operating a restaurant, bar and catering service inside the new GAC.
The Airport Authority launched a new website, www.PGDAviEx.com, to highlight the aviation expansion area and provide updates to potential tenants and developers. Airport staff is working with AECOM, the world’s premier infrastructure consulting firm, to develop an interactive map application that will show both airside and landside parcel information for the entire airport property. The interactive map will also display land lease information to potential tenants to provide businesses looking to expand with immediately available relocation information. The interactive map is expected to be online in December 2020.
PGD AviEx projects are made possible through a combination of self-funding from Airport Authority revenues, along with funding from the Federal Aviation Administration, Florida Department of Transportation, Passenger Facility Charges and Customer Facilities Charges. Learn more at www.PGDAviEx.com.
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About Punta Gorda Airport
The Charlotte County Airport Authority (CCAA), governed by five elected commissioners, owns and operates the Punta Gorda Airport (PGD), located at 28000 Airport Road, five minutes off I-75, exits 161 and 164. PGD provides quick and easy access to Southwest Florida, and is home to air charters, medical transport services, aircraft maintenance and avionics repair, as well as flight schools, distributers and manufacturers. CCAA is a nontaxing entity and operates as an enterprise fund, totally supported by revenue generated from its operations including rental car concession, parking, fuel sales and hangar, building and land leases. A 2018 economic impact study by the FDOT estimated that PGD is responsible for 12,392 jobs and $1.275 billion in total economic output. For more information, visit www.flypgd.com.
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