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Don’t Call It Flagler County Airport Anymore: Commission Opts For Executive Name Change

| April 22, 2015

flagler executive airport

The name will soon change to Flagler Executive Airport. (© FlaglerLive)

The county commission on Monday very quietly changed the name of the nearly 70-year-old Flagler County Airport to Flagler Executive Airport, making it at least the fifth name that the facility has known in its history. There was no discussion about the change, which was included on the consent portion of the commission’s agenda, where numerous matters are approved in bulk.


The renaming, County Administrator Craig Coffey said today, is part of a re-branding effort that underscores a series of improvements and upgrades in and around the airport as the facility strives to distinguish itself away from its rural history.

“We sound a little like Podunk, saying Flagler County Airport, there’s no zip to it, there’s no tone, no branding to it,” Coffey said. The name change will be carried out without ceremony. A new logo for the airport is in the works but hasn’t been designed yet. It’s likely to feature a shark’s fin, to echo the airport’s new technical designation in the federal government’s eyes. The new name and logo will start appearing in marketing materials as the county amplifies the airport’s visibility in the near future.

Last November, the Federal Aviation Administration changed the airport’s code identifier from KXFL to KFIN. That, too, spurred a change in the name. Those codes can be beguiling to most people. Not to pilots, who know that the X means that the airport is “a rural, out-of-the-way airport that may not provide adequate aircraft services,” Roy Sieger, the airport director, wrote in a memo to commissioners ahead of the vote. By dropping the X, the airport signals that it is no longer in a rural community. “The name change to Flagler Executive Airport is indicative of the transition to serving more corporate tenants and visitors and the expansion of the airport and the services,” Sieger wrote.

The airport has been in the midst of a $22 million capital improvement spree since 2009 that has seen it turn into an increasingly busy commercial hub—there are 26 businesses operating out of the complex–and is soon to add manufacturing in the mix as Aveo Engineering, the airline lighting component company, breaks ground on its plant at the south end of the airport. Construction elsewhere on the grounds includes a new control tower and rehabilitated taxiways and runways, and the county’s acquisition last month of several buildings and hangars on the property.

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Going “executive” in no way will diminish the airport’s marketing and appeal to non-professional fliers, Coffey said, as the airport is very popular with recreational pilots—and with students. The new hangars the county just bought “are all about recreational fliers,” the administrator said, but the appeal will also extend to “corporate people who build jobs.” Then there’s the military component, which accounts for about 5 percent of the airport’s 170,000 annual take-offs and landings.

The field started life as a World War II military facility called Naval Outlying Field Bunnell. After the war the federal government donated the airport to county government as surplus military property.

It was called Bunnell Airport for many years after that, though that may have been its informal name: historical records also point to another designation, Bulow Satellite Airfield. It’s unclear whether the airport was in use at the time: a 1957 Panama City newspaper article about a hot rod team noted that they “test their hot rods on an abandoned airplane landing strip at the Bunnell Airport.” The following year the Associated Press was reporting a Department of Environmental Regulation fine against Flagler County government “for pollution violations at the Bunnell Airport dump, and ordered it closed.”

The airport was also apparently a dwelling place for local laborers: a 1958 Associated Press story reported on the killing of two people at the airport, “the outgrowth of labor troubles at the Lehigh Portland Cement plant” off of what today is Colbert Lane. Then-County Judge Duane Deen reported that “the trouble had flared when a group of men went to a trailer at the old airport where one of the victims had lived. Two pistols and a shotgun were found at the shooting scene.”

In 1961, the county commission asked for bids to lease the airport, when it was still called Bunnell Airport. Sometime between then and the 1970s, the airport became known as Flagler County Airport—as was the case when it made national news on April 6, 1975, during what was then called the Sunny Days Festival Airshow that was hosted at the airport. That day, Dominic Giandomenico, a 24-year-old resident of Boca Raton and aerial performer, dropped to his death as he was attempting to climb up a ladder and into a plane, from a car.

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14 Responses for “Don’t Call It Flagler County Airport Anymore: Commission Opts For Executive Name Change”

  1. Ken Dodge says:

    Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) at one time was known as Broward County Regional Airport. Can Flagler-Palm Coast International Airport (FIN) be in our near future?

  2. HonkeyDude says:

    Just like gamble rogers… should have been Tater Skid Row.

  3. Flatsflyer says:

    Let me put it in real simple terms, HOW MUCH IS THIS GOING TO COST US? Signs, stationery, Website changes, vehicle lettering, maps, charts, GPS, Radio Call Signs,just to name a few. By the time these changes are completed, a few million dollars will have been spent. Golf Courses, Tennis Centers, Swimming Pools, it doesn’t matter local politicians can/will waste more money when it’s not their own.

    • 2180 says:

      Do your research. Not only is the airport an enterprise fund which means it wont cost YOU anything…but by being executive the whole purpose is to draw money into the county by way of business, retail and services.

  4. Derrick R. says:

    Agreed waste & BS. With absolutely no thought of fiscally responsible actions. This will do nothing but spend tax payers money on something that’s not needed nor bring a guaranteed return on the money spent.
    Time to consider a recall election.

  5. Charles Ericksen Jr says:

    The Flagler County Executive Airport is a special fund and requires NO property tax dollars to support it’s existence. ALL of it’s expenses are paid by services paid for at the airport. Landing fees, rental of T-hangars and other property/buildings ( restaurant,, Yes we own the Hijackers building ) etc) and fuel fees . In addition, the Federal Government has and will pay for close to 100% of the planned runway expansion and other improvements. At present all buildings are under a lease agreement, in addition to the new customers scheduled to move in. Once again.. NO tax dollars to run the airport. It is much more than a break even operation.

    • Just a thought says:

      Thank you Commissioner. It’s nice to hear from someone with the facts.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      As a very skeptical person, it does seem the airport management has tightened up the ship and is doing the right things. And this is coming from someone who had to sell his airplane because he could not afford the increased hangar and ramp fees.

  6. NortonSmitty says:

    Whatever. Fly with the Wind, McCoy Tyner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZIXDTH-sLA

  7. Wishful thinking says:

    Great appropriate name. Hubby worked at Ft Lauderdale Executive Airport . “It’ all in the name”
    Now create jobs and get us back 24 hour helicopter service instead of the current 12 which is befitting to any ‘Executive ‘ airport

  8. NortonSmitty says:

    Or fly with this. Donald Byrd, Flight Time:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwRrSr0fG_E

  9. snapperhead says:

    If it weren’t for state and federal funds(paid by taxpayers) for upgrades and improvements the airport wouldn’t run very well as an profitable enterprise. so let’s stop trying to make it sound like it doesn’t cost the taxpayers anything to run when it’s state and federal taxes paying most if not all funds for upgrades and improvements.

  10. tomc says:

    We are so fortunate to have County Commissioners with nothing worthwhile to do. What a waste of time and money. Pathetic.

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