Did you know that Collier County’s three airports contribute more than $55 million to our local economy and are essential to Florida’s No. 1 industry, tourism?
To celebrate this and more about our airports, the Collier County Board of County Commissioners proclaimed April 2017 as Aviation Appreciation Month in Collier County at its regular meeting on Tuesday, April 11.
Collier County government oversees three airports – the Marco Island Executive Airport, the Immokalee Regional Airport and the Everglades Airpark. Each of these airports plays an important role in the economic development and growth of Collier County.
The largest of the County’s airports at just over 1,300 acres, the Immokalee Regional Airport, serves as a base for aerial firefighting and crop dusting operations. About half of the airport’s operations are flight training-related. The airport’s industrial park supports small, start-up businesses in its incubator facilities, and is home to several local manufacturers and International Hot Rod Association-sanctioned weekend drag racing. A 60-acre zone in and around the Airport is designated a Foreign Trade Zone, which offers companies the convenience of deferring any duties or taxes until the business ships the goods out of the zone. Plans are currently underway to develop a warehouse on the property into the second of Collier County’s economic accelerators, focusing on agribusiness and the culinary industry.
The Marco Island Executive Airport supports tourism, recreational and business travel. The airport also offers flight training and air charter services to the Florida Keys. It is home to the Marco Island Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol, which serves as the citizen auxiliary to the U.S. Air Force, performing key missions that include search and rescue missions and disaster relief operations. Design plans are underway to construct a new and relocated, two-story terminal building to meet current and future airport demand while enhancing airport safety. The groundbreaking of this $12 million project is expected in late 2017.
Everglades Airpark, known as the County’s eco-tourism airport, is surrounded on three sides by the waters of Everglades National Park, and serves predominantly recreational and flight training activities. It is a destination for vacationers and outdoor enthusiasts who come to fish, boat, camp and explore the Everglades. The Gulf Visitor Center and National Park ranger station are within walking distance. It is also home to WINGS Aero Tours, which provides seasonal air charter and aerial tours through the Ten Thousand Islands, Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys.
The three are part of Florida’s general aviation industry, which contributes more than $7.7 billion annually to the state’s economy, employing more than 64,000 people and accommodating more than 9 million visitors and business travelers annually.
For more information, please call Airport Manager Justin Lobb at 239-642-7878.