Punta Gorda Airport (Florida)
|Punta Gorda Airport
(Formerly Charlotte County Airport)
|USGS 2006 orthophoto|
|IATA: PGD – ICAO: KPGD – FAA LID: PGD|
|Owner||Charlotte County Airport Authority|
|Serves||Punta Gorda, Florida|
|Focus city for||Allegiant Air|
|Elevation AMSL||26 ft / 8 m|
|Sources: FAA, BTS, Airport Website|
Punta Gorda Airport (IATA: PGD, ICAO: KPGD, FAA LID: PGD) is a public airport three miles southeast of Punta Gorda, in Charlotte County, Florida. It is owned by the Charlotte County Airport Authority and was formerly called Charlotte County Airport.
The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a primary commercial service airport since it has over 10,000 passenger boardings (enplanements) per year. Federal Aviation Administration records say the airport had 147,698 enplanements in calendar year 2011, an increase from 87,041 in 2010.
The airport has mainly been used by single engine and small jet aircraft, but has recently seen more scheduled airline service. The airport is home to the Florida International Air Show, an annual event which has featured various military demonstration teams, such as the United States Navy's Flight Demonstration Squadron, the "Blue Angels"; the "U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds"; and the United States Army's "Sky Soldiers" (173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team) Cobra helicopter team.
World War II
In 1941 the US Army Corps of Engineers built an airfield on the current airport property as a combat pilot training base for the US Army Air Forces' Third Air Force, naming the facility Punta Gorda Army Airfield. By 1944 the base reached its peak in housing 1,000 personnel, including two squadrons of student pilots.
The base initially had forty Curtis P-40 Warhawks assigned, later transitioning to the North American P-51 Mustang. Pursuit (i.e., "fighter") aircraft training in the P-40 and P-51 represented advanced phase training for Army Air Forces fighter pilots prior to their being deployed with USAAF operational units in Europe and the Pacific. Punta Gorda Army Airfield was a subordinate command of 3rd Air Force, 3rd Fighter Command at Drew Field (now Tampa International Airport), and also had C-45 Expeditor and C-47 Skytrain transports assigned for support.
The 27th Service Group, an all-black unit, was moved from McDill Field near Tampa to provide training for support services to the air combat units.
All base officers and some senior non-commissioned officers lived in Punta Gorda, while all student officers and most enlisted men lived in tent structures on the base. Semi-permanent buildings included an operations headquarters, classrooms, supply building, fire station, dispensary, chapel and the control tower. The base had nose dock hangars, where just the nose of the aircraft was under shelter for repairs.
Following the war, the US Government issued a Deed of Release transferring all of the fixtures and improvements situated on the property to Charlotte County.
The airport saw no large airlines after the early 1980s in the aftermath of the Airline Deregulation Act of 1978. Airline flights resumed in 2007 when both Skybus Airlines and DayJet began flights at the airport. It didn't last: Skybus ceased operations on April 5, 2008 and DayJet on September 19, 2008.
Airline service resumed on November 22, 2008 when low-cost carrier Direct Air began twice weekly service to 10 cities in the eastern US. On December 2, 2008 low-cost airline Allegiant Air also announced it would open a new focus city at PGD and began McDonnell Douglas MD-80 flights to Greenville, SC and Knoxville, TN on March 5, 2009. A third airline, Vision Airlines also commenced weekly flights to Northwest Florida Regional Airport (VPS) in Destin on March 25, 2011. Vision then offered through ticketing for flights from Punta Gorda to Atlanta, Savannah, and Asheville via connections at the airline's Destin/Fort Walton Beach hub. Vision no longer has a hub at Destin/Fort Walton Beach.
Vision Airlines and Direct Air ended all service to PGD in 2012. Shortly after the collapse of Direct Air, Allegiant grew their PGD presence from three to seven cities and started basing aircraft full-time at the airport. Allegiant continues to grow at PGD; by the end of 2013, Allegiant will serve 20 cities from PGD.
Punta Gorda Airport covers 1,934 acres (783 ha) at an elevation of 26 feet (8 m). It has three asphalt runways: 4/22 is 7,193 by 150 feet (2,192 x 46 m), 15/33 is 5,688 by 150 feet (1,734 x 46 m), and 9/27 is 2,636 by 60 feet (803 x 18 m).
In the year ending December 30, 2012 the airport had 74,854 aircraft operations, average 205 per day: 96% general aviation, 3% air taxi, 1% airline, and <1% military. 291 aircraft were then based at the airport: 81% single-engine, 10% multi-engine, 4% jet, 2% helicopter, and 2% ultralight.
Airline and destinations
Allegiant Air, operating McDonnell Douglas MD-80s, schedules flights to 12 states in the eastern and midwest U.S., all served via smaller airports much like PGD. In 2010 the average fare was $44.87 for a one way domestic fare. A recent one-way trip from Punta Gorda to Des Moines was priced at about $110 giving people in Florida an option to travel almost anywhere in the U.S. for a low fare. In 2007 the airport built a new terminal for the growing number of passengers. It was named the Bailey Terminal for the seven Bailey brothers who were from Punta Gorda, and served in WWII and the Korean War. The terminal will soon be expanded.
In 2010 enplanements only totaled 90,240, making PGD the least used airport in Florida by scheduled airline passengers. (In 2009 only 63,001 enplanements were noted.) In 2011 enplanements skyrocketed almost 70 percent to almost 150,000.
Allegiant Air schedules jet nonstops to:
- FAA Airport Master Record for PGD ( PDF). Federal Aviation Administration. Effective November 15, 2012.
- http://www.transtats.bts.gov/Data_Elements.aspx?Data=1, PGD Passenger Origin & Destination Numbers.
- "Punta Gorda Airport". Charlotte County Airport Authority. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- "IATA Airport Code Search (PGD: Punta Gorda / Charlotte County)". International Air Transport Association. Retrieved January 5, 2013.
- "2011–2015 NPIAS Report, Appendix A" (PDF, 2.03 MB). National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems. Federal Aviation Administration. October 4, 2010.
- "Enplanements for CY 2011" (PDF, 1.7 MB). CY 2011 Passenger Boarding and All-Cargo Data. Federal Aviation Administration. October 9, 2012.
- Florida International Air Show
- This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the Air Force Historical Research Agency.
- Punta Gorda Airport
- PDF brochure from CFASPP
- Aerial image as of December 1998 from USGS The National Map
- (PDF), effective April 3, 2014
- FAA Terminal Procedures for PGD, effective April 3, 2014
- Resources for this airport: