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Gainesville Regional Airport is a vital tool in building a strong local economy. Hear what area business leaders have to say about the airport in GNV’s Fly Local video. Fly Local...Fly Gainesville!

Gainesville Regional Airport’s Operations Department is commended with an Airport Safety Mark of Distinction from the Federal Aviation Airports Division, Southern Region. The medal of excellence is for work done in advancement of airport safety as well as for the development of an integrated and involved department.

“I am proud of our Operations Department and the safety programs they have helped put in place,” airport CEO Allan Penksa says. “Safety is our number one focus and a team effort among all of our stakeholders. We are pleased to accept this award on behalf of all of them.”

The Operations Department is lauded for exceeding minimum standards as well as for being professional and well-trained. Also noted was proactive involvement with airport staff and the public by developing a number of safety programs. Cited by the FAA was the “ARFF Flyer,” a newsletter designed to facilitate training and communications between the airport and Gainesville Fire Rescue while keeping the community informed.

Airports are nominated for the Mark of Distinction by the Airport Certification Safety Inspector (ACSI). The Southern Region Airports Division Airport Certification team conducted follow-up on GNV’s nomination to determine eligibility. GNV also garnered the recognition in 2004. However, few airports receive the award. Four airports received the honor in 2011 and only one in 2010.

Caption: Ops crew members Mikaela Lunday, Jason Berger, GACRAA board member Mark Minck, Gordon Rowell, Ops Manager Shaun Blevins and CEO Allan Penksa on Wednesday, November 14, 2012.

Facade After

Gainesville’s City Beautification Board recognized Gainesville Regional Airport’s Phase III renovations at an annual awards presentation on April 24, 2013. The update to the airport’s façade won an award in the Institutional Facilities category.

Updates are not only aesthetically pleasing, but the renovations result in easier accessibility for passengers as well as energy efficiency. Upgrades include replacement of store front glass with energy efficient glass, construction of vestibule entryways to reduce the loss of air conditioning or heating and new curb and sidewalks that feature a unique pattern of colored cement with curved lines.

Exterior, pillar lighting was replaced with new, energy efficient LED lighting for energy efficiency and the safety of late arriving travelers. Fresh paint, new benches and new landscaping create the new welcome for both residents and visitors to the community. The new irrigation system replaced the source from utility domestic water to well water. Finally, handicap parking areas and ramps to the sidewalk were repaved at the front of the short term lot.

Terminal Renovations Phase III began in June 2012 and final touches were completed in February 2013 with a construction cost of $1.3 million. Reynolds Smith and Hills (RS&H) designed the project.

The City Beautification Awards highlighted 27 construction or renovation projects around the community covering categories from Commercial and Retail to Restoration, Revitalization and Adaptive Reuse.

The annual City Beautification Awards recognize excellence in a variety of design categories. They highlight projects of outstanding aesthetic and artistic appeal. Projects are evaluated based on originality, innovation and creativity as well as their sustainability, maintenance and use of serviceable materials.


With four airlines serving five non-stop destinations, GNV is currently at capacity. As part of the update to the Master Plan, engineering firm RS&H has created concept drawings for future expansion. As airlines transition from the less-fuel efficient regional jets, GNV must plan for larger, narrow body aircraft.

Concepts 002 Concepts planes

A few of the areas that are being considered for expansion include more apron pavement. This is the area where jets park at the terminal gates. The additional apron would allow for adding a mezzanine level bridge or two from a concourse to the west of existing jet bridges. Also needed are more restrooms in the secure area and more space for the security checkpoint. GNV would also expand the back baggage carousel area and offices for existing airlines.

No dates have been set yet for planned constructions. But the work would likely take place in phases as funding became available.