The seaplane ramp at Leesburg International Airport officially opened for business Tuesday, July 10.
The ramp, which is open from dawn to dusk, was a $3.3 million project that provides access to Lake Harris. It took about four years to complete from the initial concept through construction and was built in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation and Lake County.
The ramp expands airport access to seaplanes for maintenance, repair and other services provided by airport businesses and complements services offered at the Tavares seaplane base.
“In addition to projects that focus on safety and operational needs, the city wants to incorporate improvements that benefit the flying public,” said Airport Manager Tracey Dean. “The seaplane ramp is another amenity that should increase operations and economic growth at the airport.”
The project also creates jobs and enhances aviation services while adding more functionality to the airport. For instance, Wipaire Inc., a seaplane float manufacturer, located its Florida service center in Leesburg with the promise of the ramp being built.
Wipaire offers float maintenance and changeovers, avionics work and other products. The company continues to expand operations and under the terms of a lease with the city, it will add 60 full-time positions at its facility.
A grand opening ceremony for the ramp will be held in the coming weeks, officials said.
Leesburg International Airport is a general aviation airport with more than 50,000 flight operations per year. The annual economic impact of the airport is about $75.4 million.
The direct impact comes from businesses located at the airport and capital projects. The indirect impact is attributed to visitors’ spending after they arrive in the area by aircraft.
Additionally, the airport supports health, welfare, emergency and safety- related services.