Lakeland Linder Regional Airport (IATA: LAL, ICAO: KLAL, FAA LID: LAL) is a public airport five miles southwest of Lakeland, in Polk County, Florida. The National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2011–2015 categorized it as a reliever airport.
The airport has a Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) Part 139 operating certificate allowing passenger airline flights; the current terminal facility, which opened in late 2001, was designed to host airlines with minimal modifications. Scheduled airline flights returned to the airport in June 2011, when Direct Air began service to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, Niagara Falls, New York and Springfield, Illinois. Service ended on March 13, 2012 when Direct Air unexpectedly announced an end to operations. The charter carrier, who offered flights from Lakeland to Niagara Falls and Plattsburgh, New York; Springfield, Illinois and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina with Boeing 737 aircraft, was subject to Chapter 7 liquidation on April 12, 2012.
Annually, around March–April, the airport hosts Sun 'n Fun, a six-day Fly-in, airshow and aviation convention. It is the second largest such event in the United States after the Experimental Aircraft Association's (EAA) annual "AirVenture" event each summer at Wittman Regional Airport (OSH) in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Although originally begun by a local EAA chapter, Sun `n Fun is now an independent nonprofit corporation and no longer affiliated with EAA. During the week of Sun 'n Fun, Lakeland Linder Regional Airport becomes the world's busiest airport with about 60,000+ aircraft movements.
It was anticipated that the 2013 Federal sequester would result in the closure of the airport's control tower and require pilots to rely on air traffic controllers from other area airports. As of March 2016, the control tower remains in operation, with a second 141-foot tower being constructed to replace the current 50 foot one.