Community Update from Punta Gorda Airport CEO, James W. Parish, P.E.
The Charlotte County Airport Authority (CCAA) Board voted three to two on Nov. 19, 2020 to deny entertaining proposals associated with the Airport Investment Partnership Program (AIPP). However, discussions about the future of the CCAA as a special district continued in the larger political community. In the following weeks, proponents of the AIPP continued to socialize possibilities of another entity taking over the airport (involuntary dissolution) so that proceeds from the AIPP could still be realized and utilized by others.
This update does not reflect the views of the entire Board of the CCAA, but of PGD’s CEO James W. Parish, P.E.
However, these discussions should effectively be concluded at this time given the following important developments:
- Prior to the Dec. 10, 2020 Legislative Delegation meeting, the City of Punta Gorda removed it’s priority to “….become a principal partner to the PPP (public private partnership) in order to further evaluate and potentially execute the agreement arising from ownership of PGD.”
- The CCAA expressed in its legislative priorities that it “is adamantly against any consolidation or assimilation into Charlotte County government, or the City of Punta Gorda, or any other governmental entity. The CCAA shall oppose any and all efforts to change its status from an independent governmental entity. The CCAA shall remain an independent governmental entity, providing services to the residents of Charlotte County and the region.”
- Airport management received a letter from Allegiant on Dec. 8, 2020 stating their intention not to provide approval of the AIPP proposal. As the only commercial carrier, Allegiant’s approval is required for the AIPP program to be implemented. Read the letter from Allegiant Travel Company.
Throughout this process, we’ve gained new information, new perspectives and learned the value of our airport to outside investors. We’ve also received great accolades for our efficiency, fiscal responsibility and smooth operations – in addition to a reported regional annual economic impact of $1.275 billion (FDOT).
Punta Gorda Airport’s mission is to serve the community and business through aviation. While elected by the residents of Charlotte County, the CCAA Board’s service benefits the residents of the entire southwest Florida region. Our staff’s main priorities are to continue smooth, safe operations and carry out our approved Master Plan that benefits our community directly with more than $200 million funded airport improvement projects over the next 15 years.
I believe we should continue to explore opportunities with private investors and businesses to further development on a smaller, more targeted scale. The CCAA Board, in its current structure, can work together with other government entities to create the vision of what that looks like, and we can develop a plan to get there. We value our relationships with the City of Punta Gorda and the Charlotte County Board of Commissioners, and I am hopeful we can look for more opportunities to align our visions for the community going forward.