Author Topic: Commercial flights may be coming to the Ocala International Airport  (Read 3381 times)

Offline KB4TEZ

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OCALA, Fla. (WCJB) - Passenger flights haven’t been available in Ocala for years. Passengers must go to airports in Gainesville or even Orlando.

The Ocala Metro CEP CEO Kevin Sheilley spoke on the need for commercial flights.

“In one area we saw that was really happening our growth was access to commercial passenger air service. As we look to continue to grow and diversify our economy that was a piece that was missing.”The number one goal of the new Ocala CEP five-year plan is to bring commercial flights and more jobs to the airport.

“We definitely need a commercial airline even if it’s three days a week schedule because so many people don’t want to travel to Orlando or Tampa or Gainesville because of the traffic situation,” said resident Howard Vandergrift.

But resident Cora Maxin feels different saying she lives near the airport and it’s just fine the way it is.

“It would be nice for the community if they didn’t have these big planes coming over our homes. We’ve always had a quiet city and now this will turn it around.” During the Ocala City Council race now councilman Barry Mansfield told TV20 during his campaign that this was also one of his goals.

“I can just drive here in Ocala and get on a plane and be able to connect where I need to go. Versus having to get on the road get on the interstate, spend that gas money and pay to park. How much more does that make living here an even better deal,” said Sheilley.

Officials from the Gainesville Regional Airport sent us a statement saying:

“GNV is committed to providing high-value air service to area businesses and residents and is glad to see that many of our friends in Marion County love our service. This is a very competitive market for airline passengers with tremendous leakage to large volume, low-cost leisure markets in Orlando, Tampa, and even Jacksonville. This is not likely to change, given the tremendous growth in the I-4 corridor and its global tourist draw. The closer a population center is to these markets, the greater the leakage and more challenging it is to provide, frequent, reliable, daily air service to multiple locations. Our own key to success is to continue to add good-paying, highly skilled jobs to our area and to attract new flight options whenever possible. This challenge is made greater if another airport, even one with limited flight options, is added to the mix.”