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Saturday, November 20, 2021

Marion County residents share additional thoughts on commercial flights to Ocala International Airport

In response to a letter in support of the Ocala International Airport featuring more commercial flights, hundreds of residents across Marion County commented and wrote letters to share their thoughts about the city’s airport needs.

“One can book a flight for a horse in and out of Ocala, but can’t book a flight for a human. There are 35,000 thoroughbreds in Marion County but nearly 60,000 people in Ocala. It seems the numbers support commercial air service here,” says Brock Sheridan of Ocala.

“All the new people, businesses, restaurants, and shops that are moving into the Ocala area are going to keep increasing regardless of whether we expand the airport to a commercial airport or not. Expanding the airport would mean less traffic on the death traps known as I-75 and the Florida Turnpike going to Gainesville, Sanford, Orlando, etc. I am all for airport expansion” says Ocala resident Judy Singer.

“We have an FAA tower and a runway capable of handling jets. I have lived in this area, including Ocala and Anthony, for 30 years. With all the new housing (including The Villages, On Top of the World, The Shores, Marion Oaks, need I go on), it is not responsible to expect us to make a two hour drive to Tampa, St. Petersburg, or Sanford to fly! At least bring in a commuter with good connections to Atlanta. This situation is ridiculous. You are not serving us as good stewards,” says Scott Andrews of Dunnellon.

“Past President Trump and his entourage flew into Ocala International Airport on the presidential jet to give a speech in Ocala. It seems not only possible, but Ocala airport is large enough,” says Ocala resident Kathy Tetzlaff.

Not all residents were of the mindset that the airport should expand services.

“On airlines in Ocala: It’s been done before. Eastern Airlines. They pulled out. It’s expensive for the carriers. Landing fees, personnel, counter space rent. The airlines aren’t coming here unless you can guarantee full airplanes. And where would you fly from Ocala that would fill up a plane every day? Ocala would be just like Gainesville with connecting flights into Atlanta or some other hub. And have you priced flying out of Gainesville lately? It will give you a nose bleed. Nice idea, totally impractical,” says Tom Connolley of Ocala.

Would you like to share your thoughts with us? Share them in a comment or by writing a Letter to the Editor.