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Tue, October 24, 2006
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Former Charlotte County Airport Executive Director Fred Watts sits back in his chair and ponders the question.

Behind him, in the large plate glass window, the Florida sun is high overhead and a cool breeze wafts through the air as a helicopter lands about 50 feet away. In the distance, a private jet prepares to take off.

"What are the advantages of using this airport?" he asks, rhetorically. Then he smiles wide.

It's an easy answer.

In fact, it's many easy answers.

The Charlotte County Airport is uniquely situated in Southwest Florida, halfway between Sarasota and Fort Myers and a short plane ride from Tampa, Orlando and Miami. Deep-water seaports are nearby, too.

The airport is just 5 minutes from the nearest city, hotels, restaurants and entertainment. And the beach is about 20 minutes away.

Edison Community College is a minute away.

The triangular field easily accommodates private and commercial aircraft.

Rail freight is available nearby.

Interstate 75, U.S. 41 & U.S. 17 are nearby, and

A Commerce Park that looks in many ways like a hi-tech Progress Center is within walking distance of the airport's lobby.

The airport sits in Charlotte County, recently ranked by Money magazine as the fourth best community in the United States in which to live.

Yes, the answers are easy for Watts.

"We've gotten such an increase in the number of corporate jets landing here that we're wondering where they're coming from," Watts says.

While having consistent growth in its traffic rate, the Charlotte County Airport does not yet serve the general public through such commercial airlines as Delta or American Airlines, although that likely is around the corner.

For the time being, the focus in on private and corporate business, says Bob Kroeger. He is a Commissioner for the Charlotte County Airport Authority, which has the exclusive duty of overseeing and planning the airport's growth.

As he talks about the surge in private use, professional businessmen and businesswomen, carrying suitcases, walk out to a waiting jet just outside the picture window.

"In a growing economy, where there's new businesses moving in, it justifies the landing of a corporate jet," he says, referring to large companies and chains, which land jets at the Charlotte County Airport often.

Of course, he adds, it doesn't hurt that many corporate visitors bring their friends and family and spend some time at the beach. Those friends are often businessmen and businesswomen, too.

"These people are pre-sold when it comes time to move a business," Kroeger says.

While the county itself keeps people wanting to come back, the amenities of the airport itself make it easy for them to do so. The Charlotte County Airport offers:

Two 5,000-foot runways.

One 6,500-foot runway.

A modern fuel farm with both Jet A and Avgas

An automated surface weather station (ASOS).

128 T-hangars, ample tie down, and

Aviation related services on the field.

The Charlotte County Airport also gets much publicity each year from hosting the huge 2-day Florida International Air Show, which boasts the Blue Angels, the US Navy Blue Angels and the US Air Force Thunderbirds, among others.

Anyone with questions about the Charlotte County Airport can call toll-free at 1-888-700-2232 or by fax at 941-639-4792. They also can be reached by writing to:

Charlotte County Airport Authority
28000 Airport Road
Punta Gorda, Florida 33982

Click on an image below to get a larger rendering.

A jet awaits its passengers.

An aerial of the airport and its runways.

A timed exposure of a pilot doing practice landings at night.

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