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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Commercial flights in Ocala? Readers weigh in on the topic.

Multiple readers submitted letters to Ocala-News.com in response to a letter from Martin Marszalek who stated that Ocala/Marion County needs commercial flights.

“I agree with Martin Marszalek on having commercial flights in and out of Ocala. The airport is large enough to handle the aircraft. Why should we have to drive to either Orlando, Tampa, or Gainesville and waste time, money, and gas, which now is quite expensive, to get a flight. Please open up our Ocala airport for us common folks,” says Ocala resident George Nimmo.

“I so agree about the airport. I’m a senior, I’m on a limited budget, and I would love to see flights out of here. Why do others complain? Especially the ones just moving in. It would bring in jobs and money. Why call it “International” when it’s not. I live about 5 miles from it and have flights come over once or twice a week. I enjoy that. Please, we need the flights. Paying a huge amount to get to Orlando has gotten out of hand, and it’s keeping a lot of us from seeing family or friends. I haven’t seen my kids for over a year now. Flying to Chicago would be wonderful. Please, think before you complain about what is not “good for you.” We matter too,” says Gini Pickett, Ocala resident.

“I agree, Ocala needs to add commercial fights. Put it on the ballot for a vote,” says Summerfield resident Dennis Major.

“The need for airlines out of Ocala is paramount, and why was the train service scrapped? I am a 70-year-old woman, and still very active. However, driving too far is not an option, and going to Orlando to take the plane is getting harder. We, as older folks, would like to go out of town sometimes, but driving becomes difficult, and could be dangerous to ourselves and to others. Therefore, it would be a welcoming gesture to resume the train service. These actions would bring in more dollars, and jobs to the communities involved. Our communities are growing at a lightning pace, generating more vehicles on the roads. A train service would alleviate the traffic buildup problem,” says Viressa Grant, Ocala resident.

“We have been here a long time and have done just fine. Don’t hide behind our horse industry for your own agenda. I suggest you move to a larger city that has the amenities you want. Stop moving to Florida and wanting us to change for you,” says Ocala resident Karene Thornton.

“I would like to support the opinion of the previous gentleman’s request to open the airport up to commercial flights. I’ve only been in Ocala for 15 years and it has more than doubled in size. Yet we still have to drive one-and-a-half hours to catch a flight. Ridiculous. Limit daytime flights (Allegiant, Breeze, etc.). With all the horse people in this area, why not pick somebody who could whisk you to Saratoga, Keeneland, California, not to leave out Las Vegas. We need an airport,” says Susan Gannon, Ocala resident.

“I agree with the recent writer about commercial flights in Ocala. They would be so much more convenient. The problem would be in getting any airline to agree to fly there. International does not mean much in the way of commercial flights. There is also Leesburg International. I doubt it is the flight path or the sound,” says The Villages resident Pat Cleary.

“As a kid (now 70), I remember when the airport was located at the current industrial park. Going there on weekends to watch Eastern Air Lines planes was exciting. I wanted to fly one of them someday, but glasses held me back. So I did the next best thing and joined the Air Force. No, I did not fly planes, but I was close to them. While in Ohio, a new development went in right next to the airport. People started complaining about the noise. Well, they must have been blind or bought the home site unseen. It would be great to see carriers come back to Ocala,” says Michael Baker, Weaverville, North Carolina resident.