Sunday, October 21, 2018

Marco Airport Expansion to Begin


Photos by Samantha Husted | City and county officials and airport personnel “break ground” at the Marco Island Executive Airport.

The Marco Island Executive Airport is preparing for a major expansion.

The 44-year-old facility held a groundbreaking ceremony to usher in the construction of a new 16,000 square foot terminal, located approximately 500 feet west of the current building.

Members of the Civil Air Patrol attend the groundbreaking ceremony.

The expansion is part of the airport’s multiphase initiative to modernize their services. It’s also intended to improve passenger and pilot safety. The airport plans to build the terminal in compliance with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) design standards.

“It will replace our existing facility that’s just located simply too close to our active runway,” Airport Manager Justin Lobb said.

According to Lobb, the new building will feature modern amenities such as a pilot and passenger lounge, flight planning stations, airport administrative offices, lease space for aeronautical business operations, and rental car concessions.

“I think it’s a tremendous accelerant for this area,” he said. “The airport has been growing. Every year we welcome more and more passengers.”

The Marco Island Executive Airport was originally constructed in 1974 as a replacement for a smaller airport located on Marco Island. It officially opened for business in 1976.

In 1996, the Airport Authority developed a master plan outlining the needs of the facility for the next 20 years. In 2012, the Marco Island Executive Airport completed their parallel taxiway project.

The groundbreaking ceremony included music by the Marco Island Academy band, a   singing of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” by fifth grade Tommie Barfield Elementary School student Sloan Wheeler, and speeches made by county and city officials.

District 1 County Commissioner Donna Fiala spoke of her time in the airline industry and her experiences flying into and out of the Marco Island Executive Airport. Fiala worked for 13 years as the National Sales Manager for the Naples Airlines/Provincetown Boston Airlines.

“This is probably the star of the whole airport system that the county owns and it does great work and brings a lot of wonderful people to our home,” she said.

The second phase of this project will be the demolishment of the old building. Airport manager Justin Lobb predicts that the new building will open in the spring of 2019.

Fifth grade Tommie Barfield Elementary School student Sloan Wheeler sings “The Star Spangled Banner.”

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