Friends of Naples Municipal Airport appoints new board leadership

June 13, 2023

Friends of Naples Municipal Airport, a nonprofit community organization that supports the city’s only commercial airport, has announced a new slate of board officers.

The 18-member board named Stephen Myers, CAM, an FAA-certified pilot and executive vice president of Elite Jets, as its president. Bill Earls, a luxury real estate broker with John R. Wood Properties, is the board’s new vice president.

The board appointed Christel Johnson, a real estate broker and owner of Paradise Coast Property Team, as its treasurer. Bruce Byerly, a third-generation aviator and owner of Byerly Aviation in Peoria, Illinois, is the new board secretary.

“For over 70 years, Naples Municipal Airport has been an essential civic resource for our world-class community,” Myers said. “Our volunteer board of dedicated community leaders is deeply committed to ensuring that the airport remain both a valued and well-maintained resource as well as an exemplary neighbor.”

First formed nearly a quarter-century ago, Friends of Naples Municipal Airport was recently reactivated amid a Naples Airport Authority noise abatement study submitted to the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA). The study recommendations to the FAA include increasing the glideslope to one runway, creating a residential sound insulation program and implementing an enhanced quiet flying plan.

The airport currently has a voluntary flight curfew from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. that officials say has a nearly 99% compliance rate. The Airport Authority is also pursuing a study about the feasibility of moving the airport, a scenario the Friends of Naples Municipal Airport strongly opposes.

“With a total economic impact of $781 million annually and more than 5,450 jobs supported in the community, Naples Municipal Airport is unquestionably one of our city’s most valued, and valuable, resources,” Myers said. “The financial gains, convenience, year-round tourism and community support it provides to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, medical emergency flights, fire and rescue operations, and the county’s Mosquito Control District make it a vital and essential resource to our collective health and well-being.”

The airport does not receive any local tax dollars, generating revenue from hangar rental and fuel sales as part of a financially self-sustaining operation.