MOORE HAVEN — Lillie Rodriguez of Airglades International Airport LLC appeared briefly to announce to Hendry and Glades county commissioners last Wednesday night that FAA approval of AIA’s takeover has been finalized with publication in the Federal Register.
“The record of decision announced yesterday (Oct. 1) marks a great step forward in the Airglades International Airport (AIA) project for Hendry County, Florida, and its chosen developer. AIA has been working with its partners in the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, as part of the initial Airport Privatization Pilot Program for more than nine years, and now, having reached its final decision is a great accomplishment for everyone involved, on the federal, state and local level.
“AIA has also worked diligently with partners AVPORT as airport operator and Star America as its private investor and equity partners.”
She said that under the program begun in 1996 and reauthorized in 2018 as the Airport Investment Partnership Program, AIA is one of the three airports being privatized. The others are Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and St. Louis Lambert International Airport (which just passed the preliminary application stage). She stated that the “exhaustive and comprehensive application process included environmental assessments and a finding of no significant impact” earlier this year from regulatory authorities.
Ms. Rodriguez said AIA officials will finish the remainder of the tasks they still have ahead by the end of February. Groundbreaking is anticipated in March 2020, and the first commercial flight will land at Airglades in May 2022, its final application projects. The 745-page application, filed in final version Aug. 8, is available online at their website, airglades.com, or on Hendry County’s website at hendryfla.net.
“We know that this will be a significant economic opportunity for Hendry County, and will generate more than 1,000 initial construction jobs,” she said, encouraging members of the public or anyone interested to visit their website to learn more.
“We appreciate your patience and thank you for your support,” she finished.
Glades County Board Chairman Tim Stanley thanked Ms. Rodriguez for “giving the short version, and we’re greatly looking forward to it.”Hendry County Commissioner Michael Swindle said, “We’re looking so forward to it, because always we consider it to be Hendry/Glades County and this is going to be a monumental step and footprint that’s going to bring in everything from new business tax base to housing, and we’re really looking forward to it. And I’m glad to report that it’s in my district!”