Punta Gorda Airport Soars with Record Passenger Numbers and Infrastructure Expansion

At the latest monthly meeting of the Charlotte County Airport Authority on April 11, officials delved into recent performance metrics, spotlighting a remarkable 37% surge in passenger numbers compared to the previous year for the month of March.

Gary Duncan, the operational director of Punta Gorda Airport, underscored March’s prominence as the airport’s peak month, revealing an unprecedented milestone with 244,434 passengers. Despite the staggering volume of over 13,000 flights in March, Duncan emphasized the seamless functionality of the airport’s three-runway system, notably enhanced by the addition of a new runway as part of the ongoing expansion initiative.

Kaley Miller,of marketing and communications, drew attention to Punta Gorda Airport’s notable standing among its peers, positioning it as the third most budget-friendly airport in the United States. This distinction is largely attributed to the presence of budget carrier airlines like Allegiant and Sun Country, aligning with the airport’s cost-effective operational model.

James Parish, the CEO of the airport, underscored PGD’s recognition as one of the premier 100 airports in the nation. Highlighting the imperative of accommodating the escalating passenger influx, Parish outlined the comprehensive expansion endeavors aimed at enhancing facilities and services. He also disclosed plans for a lobbying trip to Washington, D.C., aimed at enticing additional airline operators to establish routes to PGD.

With a robust infrastructure in place, including multiple runways and slated expansions totaling $44.4 million, the Airport Authority stands ready to welcome new airline partners. Commissioner Robert Hancik reflected on PGD’s remarkable journey, citing a monumental surge from 300,000 passengers before 2011 to a staggering 2 million passengers in the past year.

Following the meeting, board members of CCAA, along with Parish and key stakeholders including representatives from Senator Marco Rubio’s and Representative Greg Steube’s offices, Federal Aviation Administration officials, and project contractors and staff, convened at Taxiway G. This gathering marked the culmination of a seven-month construction endeavor initiated in August 2023, resulting in the completion of the $7.3 million project led by Kimley-Horn and executed by Dickerson Infrastructure Construction in March 2024.

The project, crucial for connecting Taxiway E to Taxiway A and facilitating access to Runway 4-22, received substantial funding under the FAA’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). This marks a significant milestone as the first PGD project to secure BIL funding, affirming the federal commitment to bolstering aviation infrastructure.