Under the leadership of the CITY OF PALATKA City Commission and the City Manager, together with Airport
Staff and Passero Associates, Airport Engineers, Palatka is an aviation portal of the future, steeping
in the riches from its historical past.
Jasper Kennedy "Kay" Larkin
in his Lockheed Bomber.
The Airport was founded in 1938 with just 214 original acres. On June 1, 1942, the U.S. Navy, under a government
lease, acquired the airport from the City and subsequently in 1943, acquired additional land. On August 21, 1942
the airport was officially named “Kay Larkin Field”, for a local U.S. Army Air Corp pilot instructor and Palatka
native killed during the Second World War. In 1946, the War Assets Administration turned the airport back to the
Shortly thereafter, the United States Postal Service, realizing the value of the location, included a Palatka leg
in their north Florida airmail run. This postal air service ran from Tallahassee to Lake City to Gainesville to
Ocala to Orlando up the east coast to Sanford to Deland to Palatka to St. Augustine to Jacksonville back to Gainesville
and to Lake City and back to Tallahassee. See First Flight, postmarked 7-AM, March 25, 1947.
1963 Terminal Building as
it still stands today.
In the early 1960’s, it appeared likely commercial service would be initiated in the Palatka area. To accommodate
this service, a terminal building of approximately 1,400-sq. ft. was constructed and dedicated in January of 1963.
In September of 1963, South Central Airlines started servicing Palatka and the Central Florida area and continued
for approximately two years, discontinuing service in 1965.
Shortly thereafter, the City leased operation to outside FBOs but resumed complete operation in the early 1980’s.
And over the decades, Palatka’s founding fathers initiated capital improvements and developed infrastructure, a
series of improvements that not only continues today, but has progressed us forward into today’s world of General
Aviation. In fact, during just 2008 and 2009 alone, more than $8 million dollars has been invested. This included
not only airfield improvements such as runway/taxiway resurfacing and drainage preservation projects but also the
installation of the long awaited AWOS III-T, new hangars, and the most visible improvement to date: a 4,000 sq ft,
all inclusive brand new FBO/Terminal Building, which is now open and is the showpiece of the City.
New FBO/ Terminal Building
Dedicated July 2009
Palatka Municipal Airport is the gem of the City, having grown to over 730 acres. It features three (3) active runways,
3000’ pvd., 3500’ pvd., MIRL, PAPI, and the 6003’ Primary Runway 09/27, pvd., MIRL, PAPI, GPS, and NDB, accommodating
65,000 lb duel wheel landing.
With the earlier closure of the forth runway, Palatka now features an adjacent Industrial Park with attached Business Park.
On field sits the General Ramp area, 54 t-hangers, 3 Commercial Hangers, 2 Executive Hangers, 1 Corporate Hangar, and
self-serve/full-serve fuel capabilities for both 100LL and Jet A, over the wing and single point.
From the Corsairs of WW II to the Gulf Streams of today, this aviation port in Palatka has been part of a local
transportation system that was once dominated by river boats of old for maritime traffic, maritime that’s still
supported by the Fort Gates Ferry of today and the familiar sight of barges servicing a river peppered with local
modern industry. This aviation port in Palatka has been part of a local transportation system that offers buses
and historical trolleys over the road; where Amtrak and CSX rides the rails and major highways are only the next
red light away. Today the Airport is the leader of that transportation system.
Ideally located, Palatka Municipal Airport is prime for the picking in the economical and development boom being
experienced in northeast Florida. Airport construction, upgrades, and capital improvement projects have elevated
28J to a “hot spot” for industrial and commercial development.
Palatka Municipal Airport’s Master Plan calls for additional improvements that will coincide with such an explosion
and continue the City’s vision of an inland transportation hub; an aviation port of integrated multimodal transportation,
anchoring the area’s business and commercial trade.
The 1942 “Kay” Larkin Memorial still stands today as it was dedicated decades ago. On field still stands an original
Quonset Hut of WW II, a military spec and bunker style structure. And mixed in with the plethora of design group aircraft,
modern military aircraft from all service branches still frequent Kay Larkin Field for training exercises.