Naples Airport benefits entire community (not just the affluent)

June 24, 2023

Corporate executives, successful entrepreneurs and wealthy retirees frequently use Naples Airport when traveling to and from Southwest Florida. It is convenient, easy to navigate and accommodates a range of small- and mid-sized jets.

As community leaders continue exploring solutions to resolve noise concerns from residents living near the airport, it is easy to blame those who book private jets to enjoy long weekends at their beachfront mansions.

Naples Airport is not just for the wealthy, though. It’s for us – ALL of us.

The airport is a critical piece of our infrastructure puzzle. Along with roadways, parks, schools, libraries and public utilities, Naples Airport helps make our community one of America’s best places to live.

Who uses Naples Airport? Yes, jet-setting executives and wealthy retirees are arriving and departing daily, but the airport’s value extends far beyond serving as the landing strip for affluent business and leisure travelers.

Naples Airport is home to the Collier Mosquito Control District, a government agency that relies on a fleet of trucks, drones, helicopters and airplanes to control our sizable mosquito population. Without their help, venturing outdoors, especially in the summer, would be unbearable.

The airport also is a base for the Collier County Sheriff’s Office, which has an aviation unit that conducts search and rescue operations, surveillance, patrol flights, searches for illegal marijuana grows and aerial photography.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a presence at Naples Airport, as do flight schools that help aspiring pilots hone their skills.

Collier County MedFlight has a pair of helicopters at Naples Airport that transport residents and visitors in need of immediate medical attention. Because Collier does not have a trauma center, an air ambulance service is critical when every second matters.

On the nonprofit side, Angel Flight uses Naples Airport to fly charitable missions with organ transplant candidates, veterans, cancer patients, victims of abuse and others. Humane Society Naples and America’s Military & First Responders Museum both have a presence at Naples Airport.

Naples Airport also plays a role in the region’s hurricane response and recovery. Although much of the airport grounds flooded during Hurricane Ian, crews worked expeditiously to clear runways and fix damage so that U.S. Coast Guard and military helicopters could begin search and rescue operations. Additionally, Humane Society Naples partnered with Elite Jets to create a staging area for animals that allowed charter companies to help dogs and cats find their forever homes elsewhere.

A 2022 economic impact study determined Naples Airport supports 5,454 jobs in the community and generates a total economic impact of $781 million annually. Each time a jet or helicopter flies overhead, it doesn’t just mean another affluent individual is coming or going... it means revenue is filtering into the local economy. It might mean mosquitoes are being sprayed, law enforcement is tracking down a criminal or one of our neighbors, friends, family members or co-workers is being rushed to the hospital for a life-saving medical procedure.

Naples Airport has a long history of service to this community that dates all the way back to its origins in 1943, when it was used as a military airfield. Today, the airport is still providing vital benefits to this community as a transportation hub essential to our safety, health, wellbeing and economy.