Lakeland Linder Regional Airport Receives Renovation Grant

Lakeland Linder Regional Airport got a windfall from the federal government last month, earmarked to improve traffic safety.

According to a statement on the airport's website, the FAA awarded Lakeland Linder $2.4 million to "alleviate complex geometric intersections and improve the safety of taxiing aircraft at the airport." Construction is to begin this summer and be completed by the close of 2011.

"Right now the taxiways leaving our hangers and terminal dump you into this area where the runway intersects with the taxiways,'' explains Gene Conrad, the airport director. "We're trying to take the confusion out of the mix in the interest of safety."

The grant, and the renovations they will pay for, couldn't come at a better time. Conrad foresees big things for the airport in the near future. "We envision ourselves as a regional facility. We currently host smaller type aircraft but would like to attract scheduled public charters and a commercial airline. By giving us this grant, even the FAA recognizes that our airport is destined to be more than it is now.

"We sit between Disney World and Tampa," Conrad continues. "And our location gives us the perfect opportunity for a commercial airline or a fixed charter line. I've only been here two and a half months, but in doing my due diligence on the area, I think the airport is a diamond in the rough."

However, Conrad isn't looking to compete with the major airports in Tampa and Orlando. "We want to stay true to our core by finding our niche. We don't want to replace anyone. We just want to carve out our own niche for the local community."

Writer: Missy Kavanaugh
Source: Gene Conrad, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport

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