Columbia County, Florida

Economic Development Department


The aviation industry soars in Columbia County, Florida!

Columbia County enjoys a unique niche in the aviation industry. Interstate 10 runs across the northern end of the county connecting it with two international airports – one in Jacksonville to the east, the other to Tallahassee in the west, and both less than two hours away.

Lake City Gateway Airport lies between these two large airports in Columbia County. Gateway’s 8,003-foot runway and several recent improvements, including an extended taxiway, a new tower and administration building and facility improvements by HAECO – one of the region’s largest aircraft maintenance and repair facilities – has made this airport an important resource for the aviation industry.

HAECO now occupies more than 600,000 square feet of covered hangar space and 1.3 million square feet of ramp area in which it can provide airframe maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services for the smallest single engine airplanes to wide-body jetliners. The complex also includes a dedicated, two-bay, strip and paint hangar.

Lake City’s Gateway Airport still has plenty of space for new businesses offering aviation and aircraft services. And, with two international airports nearby, five regional airports less than 200 miles away and several private airfields located within Columbia County, there’s plenty of opportunity, too.

At its Aviation Maintenance Academy, Columbia High School is preparing more students every year for jobs in the aviation industry. When these students graduate, they become part of a regional workforce of more than 800,000 ready to meet the needs of this growing industry.

Florida is the birthplace of commercial aviation and has more flight training and air transportation businesses and businesses supporting them than any other state in the country. With Columbia County’s central location between so many airports and the opportunities available at Gateway, there’s plenty of room for more. Contact us today to see how we can help your aviation business take flight.