By Chris DeVitto
Palatka’s municipal airport now houses a flight training company that also specializes in charter air travel.
Avia Aero Services, a company that has focused on flight training and educating the public on the benefits of general aviation since 1991, is now housed in the east portion of the city’s new terminal, said Cary Green, the company president.
In 2009 the company briefly opened a satellite office at Palatka’s airport to augment its main facility in Flagler County.
“But now our commitment at Flagler is done, so we have moved our entire operation, together with our simulator training center, up here,” he said.
“So we are exclusively in Palatka now.”
In addition to the flight school the company has also been certified as an air carrier.
“That allows us to perform air taxi and air charter services from Palatka,” he said.
The service allows customers to charter a plane and pilot for travel in the region.
“It is a very viable travel solution for people doing business in Florida and Georgia without having to go to the airlines,” he said. “Now that we are here fulltime, we are also offering regular introductory flight lessons.”
A fully operational flight simulator was also installed in the terminal building office.
The company, Avia, offers pilot training, simulator training, introductory flight lessons, youth programs and the air taxi service.
“So it is basically a suite of general aviation services available at Palatka that weren’t before,” he said.
Green said he chose to relocate the aviation business from Flagler County to Putnam because of the influx of air traffic from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and the ease of access provided at Palatka’s airport.
Recent improvements to the airport that include new the terminal and infrastructure also helped with the decision, Green added.
“Palatka is such an easy-in, easy-out and the nice thing, for our reoccurring customers who come in for training, is that we have all the hotels and infrastructure right there,” he said. “It is a peaceful, quiet place where they can study for reoccurring training and then go home.”?For flight training, Palatka’s airport is also an excellent choice, he said.
“It is a fantastic airport for training with approaches that allow us to come in very low in low weather conditions so it’s a perfect training environment,” he said.