Business View Magazine | September 2019

98 BUSINESS VIEW MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2019 L ike many of the airports in Florida, the Bartow Executive Airport in Polk County was originally built as a World War II air base. It opened in 1943 as the Bartow Army Air Field, and it operated as a fighter replacement training station for P-51 Mustangs until 1945, when it was briefly turned over to a civilian operator. In 1951, the Air Force retook possession of the airfield, and operated it as the Bartow Air Base, a primary pilot training facility for T-6 Texans, T-28 Trojans, T-34 Mentors, and T-37 Talons. When the Air Base closed in 1961, the ownership was transferred to the City of Bartow. In 1964, the city requested authority from the Federal Aviation Administration to convert a large building area into an industrial park and in 1967, the Bartow Municipal Airport Development Authority was established. Today, the Authority operates both the airport and the industrial park, as well as serving as the primary fixed-base operator for the airfield, as well as its well-regarded flight school. While the Airport does receive some funding from the federal and state governments for capital projects, it operates self-sufficiently from fuel sales and revenues from aviation and industrial park tenants that lease hangars and buildings. Bartow Executive Airport sees approximately THE BARTOW EXECUTIVE AIRPORT N E W N A M E ; O L D L E G A C Y