PUNTA GORDA — A new aviation business wing is in the works at Punta Gorda Airport.
Dubbed PGD AviEx, the expansion area is intended to house a new general aviation center, onsite flight schools, avionics and aircraft maintenance services and related training programs, among others.
The project, which has been in the planning stages for around five years, will be located in what is currently a wooded area along Challenger Boulevard.
“The concept is not new,” said PGD Communications Manager Kaley Miller during Thursday’s Airport Authority meeting. “The idea is to continue the growth in commercial air services (at the main passenger terminal) by relocating the existing fixed-based operator to the north side of the airport.”
A FBO is a commercial enterprise that operates at an airport, providing services like fuel, parking and hangar space to the general aviation community.
“This will allow the Bailey Terminal and airline facilities to expand in its current (location),” Miller said.
The airport’s current business tenants, such as AirTrek, Arcadia Aerospace, Sarasota Avionics and Maintenance and other aviation-based businesses, will also have the opportunity to construct new facilities in the expansion area.
Miller said the new space will also help with the flow of traffic for passengers at the Bailey Terminal because these “general aviation activities will be on the north side in the PGD AviEx.”
At the center of PGD AviEx will be the airport’s new GA Center building, planned to house a restaurant and bar, community event space and leased office spaces, as well as FBO operations.
“The public will get to enjoy the restaurant, bar and community space but, other than that, the expansion area is mainly for aviation-related businesses such as flight schools, pilots, charters ... things like that,” Miller told the Sun.
“So if you are a pilot from anywhere in the state or in the country and you hear there is a new nice FBO with a restaurant, you will want to come and check it out,” Miller said. “That’s what they call the ‘100 Hamburger.’ The burger isn’t actually $100 but for you to get there ... the fuel for example. It’s a fun thing for pilots to do so it will be basically for private pilots, business charters and anyone who wants to get their plane serviced.”
Miller said they would like to see the new development area built out over the next 10 to 15 years.
“The exact timing, however, will be determined by the interest level of private investors and companies wanting to locate there,” Miller said. “It could be sooner or it could take longer depending on the economic development environment.”