The Authority was established in 1963. Though it has had a few different names over the years, it has always been responsible for the operation of the airport. Now known as the Charlotte County Airport Authority and the Punta Gorda Airport, we have come a long way since 1963. And, in the years that Commissioner Seay has served on the board a lot more has been accomplished!
From 1997 to 2001, the airport had been growing slowly and steadily as a positive economic center for the county. On September 11, 2001, the country was dealt a horrible blow with the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, on the Pentagon, and in a field in Pennsylvania. Those actions changed aviation dramatically. Your Charlotte County Airport rebounded swiftly, and continued to grow and provide a solid foundation for economic development in the county.
On August 13, 2004, Hurricane Charley devastated the Charlotte County Airport. Most of the t-hangars and many of the buildings and businesses at the airport were destroyed. Many believed that it was the end of the Airport. But not Commissioner Seay and the rest of the Airport Authority members. On August 14, just one day after the hurricane blew through the airport, the Commissioners held an emergency meeting -- gathered in a heavily damaged though still-standing office space at the airport -- and authorized the beginning of the re-building process.
Since that time, the airport has re-built destroyed t-hangars and added more. We have replaced destroyed buildings, including the old main building with a modern, though modest, commercial aviation terminal. We have purchased and re-furbished a new building in which is housed the new FBO and general aviation operations. We successfully launched commercial aviation operations at the airport. We have built a new air traffic control tower, and have greatly expanded our terminal.
Challenges, however, continue. Rising fuel prices and aviation industry challenges led to the rapid demise of Skybus Airlines, the fledgling commercial service at the airport. With rising fuel prices comes the inevitable reduction in fuel sales. Assuring the future of the airport is a key function of the Authority. Through diversification within the aviation industry, support of general aviation, and marketing both aviation and non-aviation properties to potential tenants, the Airport will survive these challenges as well.
The announcement of new commercial airline service to Charlotte County had been a welcome step towards a positive future, providing a balanced blend of commercial and general aviation at the Charlotte County Airport. Though Direct Air no longer provides airline service to the Airport, its legacy is one of successful flights from the Punta Gorda Airport throughout the south, northwest, and midwest. The Airport Authority Commissioners continue to build on that success and will continue to work towards attracting new flights and service to the Airport. The addition of Allegiant Airlines has increased the destinations available from our airport. We changed our name to the Punta Gorda Airport, to help our airlines and their passengers better identify this beautiful southwest Florida destination.
In late 2011, Commissioner Seay traveled with the Charlotte County Economic Development Commission to Brazil with Governor Rick Scott. Our purpose was to introduce Brazilian businesses to our area and the opportunities that we offer. We were overwhelmed by the positive response and, shortly after our return, we hosted 27 business leaders from Brazil on a fact-finding mission. Several of those businesses have already made plans to return and to establish their business here in Charlotte County.
Commissioner Seay continues to work in the local, state, national, and international community to promote Punta Gorda Airport and Charlotte County as a family-friendly, business-friendly destination, while also maintaining a positive relationship with our local business and community leaders. She remains committed to the success of the airport - both commercial and general aviation - as well as the commerce park.
After Hurricane Charley, 2004
Political Advertisement Paid for and Approved By Pamella A. Seay, Republican Candidate for Charlotte County Airport Authority, District 1 firstname.lastname@example.org