City News Blog


The latest happenings in your city government.



LAKELAND, FL (April 16, 2015) - Lakeland Linder Regional Airport will celebrate the groundbreaking for a new Air Traffic Control Tower on Tuesday, April 21st starting at 10 a.m. The public is asked to arrive by 9:30 a.m. and park in the Lakeland Linder terminal parking lot located at 3900 Don Emerson Drive. The new 141 foot tower will be nearly three times the size of the current 50-foot tower.  The majority of the funding for the tower is coming through grants from the Federal Department of Transportation.


Airport Director Gene Conrad said, “The existing control tower was constructed in the late 1970’s and it doesn’t have adequate height nor location to comply with current FAA standards.” He added, “The new tower will be located in a more central location on the Airport at a height of 141 feet which will permit controllers to provide the highest level of safety.”


Construction of the new control tower will assist with the long-term financial sustainability of the Airport. The new tower will be located outside of the Aerobatic Box used annually during the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in and Expo, enhancing safety for controllers. The tower will feature an octagonal shaped glass cab that measures 35 feet wide with five controller stations and one supervisor station.


Media inquiries please call 863/834-3298.





Breitling Jet Team Practicing At

Lakeland Linder Regional Airport


Lakeland, FL (April 8, 2015) — Residents in the surrounding areas of the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport may notice an increase in air activity over the next two weeks. The Breitling Jet Team based out of Dijon, France will be practicing team flights in the skies above South Lakeland in preparation for their North American Tour and much anticipated performance at the upcoming 2015 Sun ’n Fun Fly-In & Expo. The team’s appearance at Sun ’n Fun will mark their first-ever performance in the United States.

The Breitling Jet Team is the world’s largest professional civilian flight team known for their prestigious aerobatic displays. The first and largest of its kind, the team is comprised of seven L-39 C Albatros jets that can reach speeds up to 465 mph. Every appearance of the Breitling Jet Team is a breathtaking vision as each aircraft gracefully weaves through the sky at incredible speeds, sometimes flying to within a few feet of each other.

Visitors can catch the team’s full show at the upcoming 41st Annual 2015 Sun ’n Fun International Fly-In & Expo, April 21st – 26th at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport. Aviation enthusiasts know it as the 2nd largest air show in the world and Florida’s largest convention. More than 200,000 people converge in Polk County to see daily air shows, visit 500 exhibits, attend workshops and forums, introduce children to the world of aviation and view more than 4,500 aircraft from homebuilts to warbirds on the 1,000 acre Sun n Fun campus.  Visit for event schedules and information.


World’s Only Flying B-29 Superfortress Heads to Lakeland Tuesday

LAKELAND, FL (March 10, 2014) — CAF AirPower History Tour will bring FIFI and other rare World War II aircraft.

When: Tuesday, March 11 at 12:00 p.m.

Where: Lakeland Linder Regional Airport,Main Terminal

What: EXCLUSIVE MEDIA ACCESS TO AIRCRAFT AND CREW for the arrival of FIFI, the only flying B29 Superfortress in the world, the only flying SB2C Helldiver in the world, a C-45 Expeditor, aDouglas Skyraider, a PT-17 Stearman and pilot Sarah Wilson with her newly restored Stearman Junior Speedmail.

About the event: The aircraft, all part of the CAF AirPower History Tour, will be on display and offering rides throughout the stop. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the B-29 and purchase rides on all of the visiting aircraft. The airplanes will be on the ramp Tuesday March 11 through Sunday, March 16. The aircraft, all part of the CAF AirPower History Tour, will be on display and offering rides throughout the stop. Visitors will have the opportunity to tour the B-29 and purchase rides on all of the visiting aircraft.

Hours: Tuesday -- 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday -- 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Admission: $10 for adults, $5 for children age 11 through 17. Children 10 and under free. Admission price includes free B-29 cockpit tour.

Rides: Rides range from $75 to $1595 depending on aircraft and seat selection. Rides can be booked online or purchased at the event.

For More Information: Information about the event can be found at

About the B-29: The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, first flown in 1942, began active service in 1944 and is perhaps best known as the aircraft whose missions over Japan helped bring about the end of World War II. It was designed as a replacement for the older B-17s and B-24s, with longer range and greater bomb loads. The B-29 was also used in the Korean War in the early 1950s and was a staple of the U.S. Air Force until the late 1950s.

FIFI was acquired by the CAF in the early 1970s when a group of CAF members found her at the U.S. Navy Proving Ground at China Lake, California where she was being used as a missile target. The airplane was rescued and restored and flew for over thirty years until 2006when the chief pilot made the decision to ground her pending a complete power plant re-fit. What followed was an extensive four year restoration that included replacing all four engines with new custom built hybrid engines. FIFI returned to the sky in 2010 and since that time has traveled coast to coastattracting large crowds at every tour stop. Learn more about FIFI and her tour schedule at


LAKELAND, FL (March 22, 2013) -- Lakeland Linder Regional Airport is on the list of 149 federal contract air traffic control towers that are scheduled to have federal funding phased out starting April 7, 2013 as part of the federal budget sequestration. Gene Conrad, Director of Lakeland Linder Regional Airport said, “We are very disappointed in the FAA’s decision to discontinue funding for the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport federal contract tower.  Safety is paramount and our operations continue to increase.  We are exploring options to maintain air traffic control services at Lakeland Airport.” 


“We did receive confirmation today that the FAA will be sending a full contingent of air traffic controllers to Lakeland Linder Regional Airport to operate the air traffic control tower during the annual Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo April 9 – 14th,” said Conrad.   “This is a reimbursable agreement with the FAA and the Sun ‘n Fun Board unanimously agreed to stand behind the financial commitment.  We are currently working with our state and local stakeholders to help cover those costs.”


In March, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed to close 189 contract air traffic control towers as part of its plan to meet the $637 million in cuts required under budget sequestration and announced that it would consider keeping open any of these towers if doing so would be in the national interest.  

The national interest considerations included:

·         Significant threats to national security as determined by the FAA in consultation with the Department of Defense or the Department of Homeland Security;

·         Significant, adverse economic impact that is beyond the impact on a local community;

·         Significant impact on multi-state transportation, communication or banking/financial networks;

·         The extent to which an airport currently served by a contract tower is a critical diversionary airport to a large hub.  

The Federal Department of Transportation consulted with the Department of Defense, the Department of Homeland Security, and conducted operational assessments of each potential tower closure on the national air transportation system. As a result, 24 federal contract towers will remain open because closing them would have a negative impact on the national interest.  The FAA will begin a four-week phased out budget process that will affect 149 federal contract towers beginning on April 7th and Lakeland Linder Regional Airport is on that list. 



FAA Contract Tower Closure List

FAA Contract Towers Remaining Open

FAA Contract Tower Cost Share Sites Remaining Open