Punta Gorda Airport to see big changes with $6 million in grants

The Federal Aviation Administration will allocate $6 million in grants to improve the Punta Gorda Airport with more flights and a new tarmac.

The new tarmac will be built for general aviation planes. It will move the parking of private and charter planes to the north end of the airport. It makes room for more commercial planes. The move means more flights and destinations, plus potentially more airplanes flying into and out of the Punta Gorda.

But some passengers said the money should be spent elsewhere, such as inside the terminal or adding covered jet bridges since all passengers have to walk outside to enter and exit the plane.

“It was okay for us with good weather, said George Stringer, who is from Michigan. “But I can’t imagine when it’s raining.”

“That is one of the ways we save a lot of money and we can pass on those savings to our customers to our passengers,” said Kaley Miller, marketing and communications manager for Punta Gorda Airport.

Miller said while covered jet bridges are not the top priority, more changes are coming to the airport as part of its $200 million expansion plan.

“This first grant for $6 million is really just that first step in moving the general aviation activities, so commercial air service can grow,” Miller said.

The award comes from the Federal Department of Transportation’s airport improvement program’s supplement appropriation. It is among the dozens of grants given to airports around the country.

The airport predicts it will take around three years before passengers see any changes. Right now, only Allegiant Airlines fly into and out of the airport. Regardless, it will bring more visitors through the growing Punta Gorda Airport and bring more money into Southwest Florida.

“I think it is always going to have a little bit of that quaint feel,” said Megan Mcbride, who lives in Cape Coral.

Reporter:Erika Jackson
Writer:Michael Mora
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