When we think about airports, Marco Islanders tend to focus on the wonderful facilities located 50 miles up I-75, or they may even think about the airport facilities in Naples.
The Collier County Aviation Authority manages three airports within the county. Marco Islanders are only a short distance away from what will shortly become one of the most desirable of the small-to-medium sized private aviation facilities in Southwest Florida.
It was just a few years ago that the Marco Executive Airport was the recipient of an FAA grant to add a much-needed taxiway to its 5,000 foot runway, improving the operational safety of the facility, according to Katie Alves.
Alves, a Marco resident, serves as the Facilities Operation Manager of the Marco Executive Airport. She is a graduate of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is an accomplished pilot herself.
Another capital improvement is happening out at the Marco Airport, as a $9.4 million project is underway which will replace the older terminal building with a new and expanded facility. “This project is in recognition of the steady growth here at our facilities,” said Justin Lobb, who directs the activities at all three airports under the Collier County Airport Authority.
The grant itself was from the Florida Department of Transportation State Aviation Funding with matching dollars from Collier County.
A second project’s funding is being finalized which will see demolition of the old terminal, to include apron expansion and development of more parking for aircraft. That project would be 90% funded through the FAA and is aimed at enhancing safety in ground operations. That project is estimated at $3.5 to $4 million when completed.
Another exciting project which is underway is the construction of 11 additional hangers at the facility on a 3.5-acre tract of land. Those hangers will be built by a private party on land leased to him by the Authority. They are being built to house mid-sized aircraft and will help to fill the need for additional hanger space at the airport.
Lobb described the demand at the airport in Marco to be steady. Year to date the facility has sold approximately 500,000 gallons of aviation fuel, an approximate 20% increase from the previous year, and there are two and a half months still left in this fiscal year.
“With the addition of the new terminal facilities, increased apron parking, new hanger facilities and our concentration on ‘red-carpet’ service to our customer base, we expect the airport to continue its steady growth,” said Justin Lobb.
It is estimated that the facilities, located at 2005 Mainsail Drive, have an approximate $32 million impact on the local economy in the greater Marco Island area, including East Naples.