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JLeslie's avatar

How much population justifies a new airport?

Asked by JLeslie (62396points) January 17th, 2022 from iPhone

I live an hour north of Orlando and The Orlando airport is an hour and fifteen minutes with no traffic and Tampa airport is an hour and a half with no traffic. In other words the airports are far.

North of me is Ocala and Gainesville. Ocala is well known for Equestrian and Gainesville has the University of Florida. I guess Gainesville uses Jacksonville airport? Could that be? That’s an hour and a half away.

People where I live travel constantly. It has me wondering how much population would warrant a new airport? I picture a small thing with 4 gates. Maybe airlines like Southwest, Spirit, and Delta.

I wonder how much it costs to build one for not very large commercial Jets. Maybe as large as a 737 though.

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8 Answers

SergeantQueen's avatar

I’m not sure population is as much a factor as location would be.

Although maybe it’s both?

Orlando is a super touristy area, a lot of people travel there to stay there. Yeah, you get a lot of people flying to Orlando, but travelling somewhere else to stay, but a lot of tourists stay in Orlando, Miami, Tampa.

An area could be super populated, but if that’s not where all the tourists/majority of travellers want to be, what would the point of having an airport in that area be? That’s what I’m trying to get at.

Also, airports are expensive. You got the actual building, ATC tower, runway, lights, then you need staff. And if you want to fit multiple 737s possibly then you would need a considerable area to actually make into the airport. They need room to park and room to take off, all that.

Also, they are loud. Not many people want to live near one. So it could depend on town/city boards if they want one I think.

Which is why I mentioned airports being in tourist areas. The city is going to build this considerably large airport, they want the people landing to spend money in that city to make up for the cost of construction. So lots of restaurants, tourist attractions, you get the picture.

Edit: considerably large as in big enough to fit a few passenger planes. Not large as in international airport.

JLeslie's avatar

@SergeantQueen Are any airports for commercial flights privately owned? I wouldn’t expect a lot of 737’s to be flying, it might be smaller planes at first, but having the runway for larger planes for future air traffic just made sense to me. We have tourism here, but nothing like Orlando of course. We also have a lot of families that visit, if you want to count that as tourism, and people who live here who travel.

There is a smaller airport already in Sanford, FL, but it’s very close to Orlando.

SergeantQueen's avatar

Some small cessna’s only need a football field or less to land in, usually less. They don’t need a lot of room.

According to this site. ”Airports are locally owned and operated. All but one U.S. commercial airport are owned and operated by public entities, including local, regional or state authorities with the power to issue bonds to finance some of their capital needs.

Jeruba's avatar

Maybe your Villages should look into having a small private airport within or adjacent to its property. Local connections to major commercial airports could be made from there.

In other parts of the country, there can be much longer distances to the big or even medium airports. An hour and a half doesn’t sound so bad, relatively speaking.

SergeantQueen's avatar

I’m only 45 mins away from one international airport, and like 2 hours away from another. I always wondered why they put two so close to eachother

Jeruba's avatar

I’m 45 minutes from one and 10 minutes from another, with another smaller one nearby. I don’t think relative proximity could have been as big a factor as local demand.

rebbel's avatar

Oops, I meant 736.

JLeslie's avatar

There is an executive airport not very far away, but I think it only handles very small private planes. There also happens to be a lot of pilot communities in surrounding areas, (and of course John Travolta’s air strip at his house) where people own their own planes.

I wonder if Ocala already has an airport that can handle 737’s? A friend of mine who I was out of touch with texted me a week ago and told me he’s working for a private company now, and flies a 737 and that he bought a place in Ocala. He didn’t even know I lived in The Villages when he called. Maybe he flies in on that plane? I really don’t know, I didn’t ask. I assumed he has his own smaller plane. He’s living in a pilot community.

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