$3 Million in State Funding Approved for New Aviation Technician Facility
The Charlotte County Airport Authority (CCAA) announces that $3 million was approved in the Florida State Budget for a new combined hangar and classroom facility for Charlotte Technical College’s (CTC) FAA-certified Aviation Maintenance Technician School. The budget was approved by Governor DeSantis on June 2, 2022.
A larger training facility at Punta Gorda Airport (PGD) is necessary to meet the aviation industry’s demand for aircraft mechanics, and state funding is essential to keep CTC’s costs low enough for tuition to remain affordable for students.
“Training new airframe and powerplant-certified mechanics is essential to the future of air travel and the aviation industry,” says CCAA chair, Robert D. Hancik. “This funding will further solidify CTC’s success and allow for the continued expansion of its training program at PGD.”
The new hangar facility is planned to have four classrooms to accommodate up to 100 students at a time and will be located within the airport’s new aviation expansion area known as the “PGD AviEx.” This location will streamline on-the-job training as the area becomes a hub for avionics and aircraft maintenance businesses. CCAA is planning to construct the facility and enter into a long-term lease with Charlotte County Public Schools (CCPS) to occupy and maintain the facility.
State Representative Michael J. Grant and Senator Joe Gruters sponsored the appropriations request, which is intended to diversify economic development opportunities in the region, create new and high-quality job candidates, and support a burgeoning aviation industry in Florida.
CCAA Commissioner Vanessa G. Oliver serves as the legislative liaison for the board. “Our local educators, community and businesses leaders got behind the project and helped us raise awareness on a state level,” says Oliver. “We want to thank them for their supportive letters, and our government officials in Tallahassee, for demonstrating their commitment to aviation initiatives in Charlotte County.”
CTC’s Aviation Maintenance Technician School was launched in August 2021, utilizing its homebase campus in Murdock as well as renovated facilities at PGD. CTC is quickly outgrowing the current building and hangar at PGD as it only allows for 50 students at a time.
“Charlotte County Public Schools is very thankful for our partnership with the Airport Authority,” says CCPS Superintendent Steve Dionisio. “We are looking forward to growing the aviation program and to providing the future workforce for Southwest Florida.”
The Governor’s Office and Representative Grant received more than two dozen letters of support from Allegiant Air, Charlotte County Economic Development, Economic Development Partnership, CareerSource Southwest Florida, Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce, Arcadia Aerospace, Florida SouthWestern State College, Commercial Broker Danny Nix, Turbine Weld Industries, Piper Aircraft, In the Loop Consulting, Hendry County Public Schools, Intrepid Aerospace, FGCU’s Office of Innovative Education & Partnerships, Farlows on the Water, Blackbird Aviation, and the Charlotte County Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol.