Hurricane Ian has temporarily shutdown operations at several Florida airports, including Naples Municipal Airport (KAPF) on the west coast of the Sunshine State. According to the VFR sectional, the airport has a field elevation of 8 feet msl.
Naples was in one of the mandatory evacuation zones.
Hurricane Ian came ashore as a Category 4 storm, but has since lost some of its energy and been downgraded to a tropical storm. However, rain is still falling in waves and flooding continues.
Repair crews are scrambling to get the airport reopened so that emergency helicopters can come in to assist with relief operations. At press time, the airport remained closed to all civilian traffic. No information has been released about damage to the airport infrastructure or to the 352 aircraft based there.
“Naples Airport staff are utilizing all available equipment, including fire trucks, front-end loaders and sweepers to clear debris from the runways, taxiways and ramps in order to facilitate emergency and first responder flights,” FlyNaples.com said in a statement. “There is currently no estimated timeline for the resumption of civilian flights.”
According to Airnav.com, there are 352 aircraft based at the field. It is not known how many were there when the storm hit or if there was any damage to them or to airport buildings and infrastructure.
Email queries to airport officials have not been returned. Cell phone service in the area is spotty at best and calls cannot get through.
Damage Beyond The Airport
The storm surge swamped the city of Naples, which has an elevation of approximately 3 feet above sea level. National media has aired video of flooded streets with cars and boats being swept along with the current. Naples is known for its luxurious waterfront homes and man made canals and lakes.
HURRICANE IAN: Firefighters in Naples, Florida removed equipment from their firetruck as floodwaters poured into the station. Hurricane Ian made landfall on Florida’s west coast this afternoon.https://t.co/K0VItAbhJ4 pic.twitter.com/9bb2WtxBxr
— KXAN News (@KXAN_News) September 29, 2022
There have been multiple water rescues and attempts to mitigate damage. Yesterday, members of the Naples fire department waded in waist-deep water to offload equipment from a fire truck that had been moved out of the flooded fire house. Other videos showed power poles being toppled by the storm and transformers exploding. It is estimated that some 2.5 million people in the state are without power. Local law enforcement reports that coast guard helicopters are rescuing people trapped by floodwaters.
Naples Municipal Airport covers some 732 acres. The airport is home to flight schools, air charter operators, car rental agencies, and corporate aviation and non-aviation businesses. The airport is also a central location for public services, including fire/rescue services, mosquito control, and the Collier County Sheriff’s Aviation Unit. The airport has three runways: 5/23 measuring 6,600 feet by 150 feet, Runway 14/32 measuring 5,000 by 100 ft, and a turf runway designated SW/NE measuring 1,850 feet by 100 feet.
According to FlyNaples.com, “The airport also prides itself on being the hub of emergency staging during natural disasters, like hurricanes and tornadoes, for first responders, lighting, and power crews.”
The airport is self-sustaining, as all funds used for the airport’s operation, maintenance and improvements are generated from activities at the airport or federal and state grants from aviation-related user fees. The Florida Department of Transportation values the airport’s annual economic impact to the community at more than $440 million. For more information or to subscribe to email updates from the airport, visit www.FlyNaples.com.