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Saturday, May 27, 2023

Readers have mixed opinions on commercial flights in Ocala

More readers submitted letters to Ocala-News.com to voice their thoughts on Ocala/Marion County’s air travel needs.

“Yes, I think its time for an airline to come to Ocala. I’ve been here almost 10 years and it would be great to get on an airline and fly from here, rather than having to drive to Orlando or Tampa to catch a flight. Please, even one airline would work,” says Ocala resident Francis Milner.

“With all the private jet flights and large horse transport flights and a few military Coast Guard flights in and out of Ocala Airport, two or three flights a week in and out of here would hardly be noticed. With the increased traffic on I-75 and the turnpike, it is more than ever increasingly dangerous to drive to Orlando, let alone Gainesville. Just download the “Pulse Point” app and take note all the accidents that take place daily on I-75 just through Marion County. Even if you’re not involved in one, just the one or two hours or more sometimes sitting in stopped traffic while it’s cleared can be frustrating if you are going to miss your plane. If you are one who is going to complain about the noise, our airport has been here probably much longer than you. Shuttle bus costs are not cheap and not always convenient. We had a short lived commercial airline back in the 80s, of which I used, and it was great. That was when Ocala was a wonderful small town, and now it’s a packed with people and traffic. Just maybe some of us would appreciate air service here again,” says Timothy Strobert, Sr., Ocala resident.

“The airlines will not come if there’s not enough business for them. There are too many people moving here expecting “here” to be like “there”. We don’t want your “there.” There are too many people and too much traffic. You knew what was here before you moved. So I’m sorry if we don’t have the things you want,” says Orange Lake resident Jackie White.

“I would love for the airport to have international flights. We’d love a train station from Ocala to Orlando. I have family in West Palm Beach and love to go and visit them, but I won’t drive out because I’m too scared to do it,” says Maria Garcia, Ocala resident.

“In regard to scheduled airline service from Ocala, I don’t think it’s a good idea. Yes, there is massive building going on and Ocala is changing, but with a scheduled airline in here, the noise, the flight path, etc., would have more complaints coming in than could be imagined. Some residents would find something wrong with all of that. There is a regional airport in Gainesville and it’s easy to get to. I believe Delta, American, and United service Gainesville, but there are no direct long-haul domestic flights from there. You will always have a connecting flight and the same would hold true from Ocala too. Delays would come into play also, i.e. a flight to MCO (Orlando) from Ocala – if weather was here, a delay would result, and if weather was at MCO (Orlando), a delay would result there too. It’s pretty much a catch-22,” says Ocala resident Maggie Koller.