Lakeland hopes cushion of cash will help land airlines

Lakeland Linder International Airport is making a pitch to commercial carriers, one they hope will be nearly impossible to pass up: Start flying out of Lakeland, and we’ll act as your financial safety net.

“It is a guarantee that they are not going to lose money,” said airport director Gene Conrad.

Conrad wants to have $3.5-million in an account to potentially reimburse an airline if they lose money.

“If they lose $200,000, we would write them a check based on our agreement,” Conrad told FOX 13.

Polk County just informally agreed to throw $1-million from its bed tax into the account.

Conrad says the financial support would not be forever. He says it might last the first few years until the airline settles in.

Conrad says he has spoken with a number of different carriers but doesn’t have any firm commitments yet.