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Business Observer Sunday, Jun. 5, 2022 3 months ago

Airport lands $3M in funding for expanded training school

The funding comes from the recently approved state budget.

The state budget approved June 2 includes $3 million for a new combined hangar and classroom facility for Charlotte Technical College’s FAA-certified Aviation Maintenance Technician School.

The larger and enhanced facility, at Punta Gorda Airport, is necessary to meet the aviation industry’s demand for aircraft mechanics, according to a statement. In addition, airport officials in the statement say that state funding is “essential to keep CTC’s costs low enough for tuition to remain affordable for students.”

“Training new Airframe & Powerplant certified mechanics is essential to the future of air travel and the aviation industry,” CCAA Chair Robert Hancik says in the release. “This funding will further solidify CTC’s success and allow for the continued expansion of its training program at PGD.”

CTC’s Aviation Maintenance Technician school was launched in August 2021, utilizing its home-base campus in Murdock as well as renovated facilities at PGD. CTC is quickly outgrowing the current building and hangar at PGD, as it only allows for 50 students at a time. 

The new hangar facility is planned to have four classrooms to accommodate up to 100 students at a time and will be located within the airport’s new aviation expansion area known as the PGD AviEx. This location will “streamline on-the-job training as the area becomes a hub for avionics and aircraft maintenance businesses,” the release states. CCAA is planning to construct the facility and enter into a long-term lease with Charlotte County Public Schools to occupy and maintain it.

State Rep. Michael Grant, R-Port Charlotte, and State Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, sponsored the appropriations request.

“Our local educators, community and businesses leaders got behind the project and helped us raise awareness on a state level,” CCAA Commissioner Vanessa Oliver says in the release. “We want to thank them for their supportive letters, and our government officials in Tallahassee, for demonstrating their commitment to aviation initiatives in Charlotte County.”

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