Reading about the development of 420 acres mostly south of the airport I have to think about where the storm water is going to go. Has we know the B-19 canal and Nova already bring overwhelming amounts to and through our city. The onsite retention as it was explained to me when I developed my property is not designed for more than the afternoon thunderstorm or for already saturated multiple day events. The drainage to the east of the airport feeds to Nova and the West and South hit the B-19.
Port Orange needs to be vocal ahead of this to bring a comprehensive regional plan to reality. We are the end of the line and must assert ourselves aggressively.
Published: Monday, November 24, 2014 at 5:30 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, November 24, 2014 at 6:05 a.m.
DAYTONA BEACH — Since mid-2008 when two airlines pulled out during the Great Recession, Daytona Beach International Airport has had only three of its six boarding gates in daily use — by Delta and US Airways.
That hasn’t stopped Volusia County from proceeding with $65 million in capital improvement projects at the airport since 2006, many designed in anticipation that all six gates will one day be fully utilized.
As travelers head to the airport during one of the busiest travel weeks of the year, they’ll see improvements that include installation of a new high-tech baggage handling system and a new security system that should reduce wait times even further for departing passengers at an airport that already touts itself as a more convenient alternative to major airports, such as Orlando International Airport.
The county has another $37 million in anticipated projects planned for the airport between now and 2018.
It also plans to commission a study to identify the best uses for the more than 450 acres of undeveloped property at the airport that could include expanded aviation facilities, a business park, an airport services plaza, more hotels and restaurants and, possibly years from now, a Daytona Beach station for the Central Florida SunRail commuter rail line.
“We’ve invested for the future,” Volusia County Manager Jim Dinneen said. “If you’re not prepared for success, it’s not going to come to you. Now we’re ready. If airlines come here, they want to make sure we can handle them.”
Steve Cooke, the airport’s director of business development and lead recruiter of airlines, recently announced his decision to retire at the end of August 2015. He said he has set his sights on landing at least one more airline by then, preferably one that can offer direct flights to and from the New York/New Jersey area, the airport’s No. 1 source of passenger traffic outside Florida.
“Getting one more, that’s my goal,” said Cooke, who joined the airport’s staff in August 1998 and will end a 38-year career in the industry when he retires.
Cooke said he and other airport officials make a case to airlines about why it would be financially advantageous for them to add daily flights here. It’s a process that can typically take years, as airlines weigh pitches from airports throughout the nation, as well as other factors, including the economy and what their competitors are doing.
The case for Daytona Beach continues to strengthen, said Cooke, who notes that passenger traffic has steadily risen for the past five years and is on track this year to be the highest since 2007. Passenger load — the percentage of seats occupied on flights to and from the airport — is also up and “has been in the 90s for the better part of this year, when good in the industry would be the low 80s,” he said.