Home Boca Raton 5 Questions With Executive Director Of Boca Airport Authority Clara Bennett
- Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became executive director of the airport.
I’ve been in airport management for my entire career starting with an internship at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority during my college years. Prior to my appointment as the Boca Raton Airport Executive Director in early 2014, I served as the Airport Manager at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, where I worked for over 20 years.
- Tell us some history about the airport. When did it open? How many flights go in and out of airport daily and annually?
The Airport’s origins date back to the mid 1930’s when it was a small local airport used by some of aviation’s early pioneers.The Boca Raton Airport expanded quickly at the dawn of WWII and was renamed the Boca Raton Army Airfield when it served as a base for air-sea patrol and a weigh station for planes being ferried to Europe. As part of its mission, the Airport played a critical role in the War and the Allies’ ultimate victory, serving as the training base for the Army Air Force flight crews learning to use radar — a then brand new technology. After the war, training continued at the base until it was shut down in December of 1947. In 1948, the Airport was transferred from the United States of America to the Town of Boca Raton, with a provision that it be used for the benefit of the flying public.Control of the land was transferred to the State of Florida in the 1950s. The State released one thousand acres foreducational use, which eventually became Florida Atlantic University.In 1983, the Boca Raton Airport Authority was created by the State Legislature to operate and develop the Airport via a land lease from the State of Florida that runs through January 22, 2073.
- What is the best perk the airport offers?
The Boca Raton Airport is a community airport that serves the recreational, corporate and training needs of the greater Boca Raton area. It is conveniently located in the heart of the a
bustling commercial, educational and research center with quick access to area hotels, sporting facilities, shopping, and arts entertainment districts. Restaurant, hotel, recreational and retail facilities are also available on site within the Airport complex.
- What is new and exciting at the airport in 2017?
We are currently constructing a new 4,500 square foot US Customs and Border Protection Facility to provide convenient arrivals back home to those travelers who currently must stop at other South Florida airports to clear before returning to Boca Raton. The facility is expected to be operational in mid-2017 and is funded through grants from the Florida Department of Transportation and Airport Authority funds.
- How much revenue does the airport bring in each year to the city?
The Boca Raton Airport has a direct employment base of 1,426 and its annual economic impact is estimated at $173 million in the local area.