While so many city planners around the United States see their local airport as a negative, the group overseeing Kissimmee Gateway Airport in Kissimmee, Florida, see it as a major positive. They not only appreciate the airport for what it has meant over the past 80 years but more importantly, they see it as a launching point for future growth.
“This is an amazing milestone for us,” said Shaun Germolus, director of aviation, City of Kissimmee. “What started as an Army training airfield in 1940 is now a thriving business and general aviation airport and a valuable asset to the city and region.”
According to Germolus, calling it a “valuable asset” is truly an understatement. He said that the airport and its tenant businesses annually contribute over $190 million to the area’s economy.
“In 2019, we had over 135,000 tower operations. That was up 24 percent from 2018,” he said. “Kissimmee Gateway Airport is extremely convenient to all of the theme parks, the Orange County Convention Center, and all other recreational and business destinations in and around Central Florida.
“It’s also much more private and convenient than using the international airport,” Germolus said. “That’s very attractive to personal and business travelers. Our resident FBOs take great care of all of our visitors.”
Central to business success
While people think that Central Florida begins and ends with Disney World or Universal Studios, there’s more to the area’s aviation heritage than Space Mountain. A recent report by Enterprise Florida says that the region plays an ever-expanding role in the country’s aviation and
aerospace industries. And Germolus said that Kissimmee Gateway Airport wants to be the catalyst of that growth.
“We have over 200 acres of untapped property here at the airport that is ideal for development by any number of aviation or aerospace businesses,” he said. “Our innovative Aerospace Advancement Initiative is an aggressive economic incentive program, designed to spur business interest and investment in the airport.”