Current Press Releases

Construction begins on new air traffic control tower and spaceport operations center at Cecil Airport

The Jacksonville Aviation Authority (JAA) has begun construction on a new air traffic control tower and spaceport operations center at Cecil Airport, with completion projected in early 2021.

“The construction of our new control tower and operations center marks an exciting new development as we prepare to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the transition from NAS Cecil Field to Cecil Airport later this year,” said JAA chief executive officer Mark VanLoh. “We look forward to providing an outstanding new facility to serve the industry leaders who operate at Cecil and advance our region’s reputation for world-class aviation and aerospace opportunities.” 

With a total cost of $8.9 million, the new tower will be funded by JAA and matching Florida Department of Transportation and Space Florida funding. The contractor, Walbridge Southeast LLC, has begun digging for utilities at the future base of the tower. 

The current tower’s view of the airport is partially obstructed by newer hangars, but in the new tower, air traffic controllers will have unimpeded views of all 6,000 acres, including the new Fire Station 63. The current tower will be removed once the new tower is operational. 

In addition to the new air traffic control tower, the spaceport operation center and mission control will house telemetry and weather monitoring equipment to support Cecil Spaceport. Cecil Spaceport is the first FAA-licensed horizontal launch commercial spaceport on the East Coast and only the eighth to be licensed in the United States.

JAA plans a commissioning ceremony which will be open to the public near the completion of the project. More details will become available as the ceremony approaches.

Jacksonville Airports Contribute $6 Billion to the Florida Economy

Jacksonville, FL, April 3, 2019 – A new economic impact study by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) found that Jacksonville Aviation Authority’s (JAA) four-airport system contributes more than $6 billion annually to the local economy.

The Florida Statewide Aviation Economic Impact Study measured the benefits of on-airport impacts, visitor spending impacts, and multiplier impacts of Jacksonville International Airport (JAX), Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX), Cecil Airport, and Herlong Recreational Airports.

“As this FDOT study shows, our aviation system is a significant contributor to Northeast Florida’s economy,” said JAA CEO Mark VanLoh. “The expected growth at each of our four airports will continue fueling the region’s financial health.”  

The report was prepared as part of the Florida Aviation System Plan’s (FASP) 2018 update and provided the estimated annual economic impact on Florida’s 20 commercial service airports, 100 public-use general aviation airports, and 11 military aviation facilities. A total economic impact of $175 billion dollars is generated annually by aviation in Florida. 

Jacksonville International Airport (JAX) generates $3,194,422,000, the highest economic impact of the four airports the JAA operates. It supports 26,396 jobs generating a payroll of close to one billion dollars. The airport also offers educational tours and an internship program through local colleges. 

The Jacksonville Executive at Craig Airport (JAXEX) created 885 jobs, establishing a payroll of close to $33 million and provides an economic impact of over $100 million. Given its location between downtown Jacksonville and the beach, the airport attracts corporate and business users, and is home to several flight schools. 

Cecil Airport provides Northeast Florida with an economic impact of close to $3 billion, over 11,000 jobs and a total payroll of close to $700 million. Cecil Airport is a public joint civil-military airport and spaceport serving military aircraft, corporate aircraft, general aviation, and air cargo. 

Herlong Recreational is JAA’s smallest airport but still provides Florida with an economic impact of $52,471,000 and created 379 jobs with a total payroll of over $16 million.  This airport has been Northeast Florida’s primary location for light sport aircraft, skydiving, gliders, and other experimental aircraft since the 1960’s. It is home to the Soaring Society Glider Club and supports a private charter company, a flight school, skydiving business, and a maintenance shop. 

For more information about the economic impact studies, visit