The City of Gainesville began construction of this airport in April of 1940 as a project of the depression era Works Progress Administration. With WWII looming, construction was taken over by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1941. Initial construction was completed in 1941 and the airport was designated Alachua Army Airfield. Three runways and more than 193 buildings were eventually constructed. Several bomber, fighter and air commando units trained here utilizing a variety of aircraft including B-25 medium bombers, P-47 and P-51 fighters, C-47 transports and various observation aircraft. The airfield was declared surplus by the War Department in September 1945 and the Army began to dismantle or transfer facilities. The War Assets Administration deeded the airfield to the City of Gainesville in 1948 for continued use as a civil airport. The City Council had named the airport for decorated WWII flying ace, John Richardson Alison in 1942. Alison was from Gainesville and served with distinction in the US Army Air Corps 75th Fighter Group, the successor to the famed AVG "Flying Tiger". The airport began civil operations by the City of Gainesville and was also known as the Gainesville Municipal Airport. In 1977 the name was officially changed to Gainesville Regional Airport to distinguish the airport's commercial air transportation role
in North Central Florida. Numerous airlines have provided service to Gainesville both before and after federal deregulation of the airlines in 1978. A new airline passenger terminal was constructed in 1979 and dedicated to John R. Alison. Major airline service at the time was provided by Eastern Airlines and Air Florida. In 1986 the Florida Legislature passed a bill establishing the Gainesville-Alachua County Regional Airport Authority as a Special District of the state, empowered to operate, maintain and further develop the airport. The Authority consists of nine Board members. Five are appointed by the City Commission, three by the Governor and one by the County Commission.