You are here: Home > Departments > Airport > About Us

About Us

The first recorded flight to Venice delivered fresh strawberries to Hotel Venice on January 13, 1927. That aircraft landed on Nassau Street.

Dr. Fred Albee, the renowned orthopedic surgeon, was a pilot who recognized the value of a community airport. He donated land, near the current sites of Venice High School and Venice Avenue Bridge, where the Civil Aeronautics Authority and the Works Progress Administration constructed markers for the sod runways in January 1936.

Later in the year, the Fred Albee Municipal Airport was dedicated with much fanfare. Albee purchased a five‐passenger aircraft and hired his nephew, a pilot, to fly his patients to his private orthopedic hospital in Venice known as Florida Medical Center. A hangar, offices, flight training school and repair shop were completed at the grass airfield in 1939.

In 1942, O.W. Caspersen donated 1,600 acres on the south side of the city where the United States Army built the Venice Army Air Base. The base was fully operational by 1943. At its peak, it housed 6,000 airmen who learned to fly P‐39s, P‐40s, P‐47s and P‐51 Mustangs. In all, about 20,000 pilots, including some Chinese‐American pilots, learned to fly for the war effort in Venice.

Aviation played a vital role in the development and economy of the city after the Florida land boom of the 1920s, during World War II, and throughout the years that followed.

With the war over, the city was granted a license to operate the airport on May 20, 1946. On June 10, 1947, ownership of the airport was transferred by quit claim deed from the United States of America to the City of Venice under provisions of the Surplus Property Act of 1944.

Many of the pilots who trained at the base later returned to Venice, where they became
residents, business owners and civic leaders. The Army Air Base leaves a legacy beyond today's airport boundaries. Besides providing the land and much of the infrastructure that is still in use today, the airport was the founding home of the Venice Little Theater (today known as Venice Theatre) in 1950. It operated there until 1972 when it relocated to its current downtown location. Hill and Hill Plumbing also got its start on airport property and is still in business today. The former VAAB chapel building was relocated to become the first building to serve as Epiphany Cathedral. The Triangle Inn accommodated many servicemen and their wives when it was operated as a bed and breakfast.

Venice Municipal Airport is a general aviation airport. General aviation includes all types of civilian aeronautical activities, except for scheduled airline service. VNC does not intend to offer scheduled airline service or large scale cargo service at any point in the future. Examples of general aviation include: privately owned aircraft, business/corporate aviation, charter operations, flight training, sightseeing, aircraft repair, medical evacuation/transportation, law enforcement, fire, and search and rescue operations. Twelve aviation businesses currently operate from VNC, including Agape Flights, a nonprofit Christian aviation ministry that provides critical supplies to more than 300 missionary families in Haiti, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. Learn more about general aviation at GA Serves America.

About 200 aircraft are based at VNC. There are about 60,000 annual takeoffs and landings, as calculated by the airport's traffic counting system that includes sophisticated cameras located along each runway.