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Initial Construction
In 1941, the Works Progress Administration completed the airport's initial construction. Upon conclusion of the construction by the U.S. Engineer Department, the field was known as the Alachua Army Airfield and was used by the Army Air Corp and the Army Air Force.

John R. Alison
On March 2, 1942, the City Council established the name of the airfield as the John R. Alison Airport. John R. Alison was a local citizen and graduate of the University of Florida who served with valor and distinction in World War II. He was selected to serve as an observer in England and later served in Russia training Russian flyers. He received honorable decorations from both countries for his service and outstanding ability as a flyer. While serving with General Chennault's Flying Tigers, he was further awarded the Distinguished Service Cross. Under President Truman he served his country as the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Aeronautics.

Gainesville Municipal Airport
The airport was deeded to the city of Gainesville in 1948. At that time, the field was known as the John R. Alison Airport and also as the Gainesville Municipal Airport. The city operated, maintained, and improved the airport over the years as the Gainesville Municipal Airport.
In order to recognize the role the airport carries in meeting the regional demands for aviation services, the airport was renamed the Gainesville Regional Airport in October 1977. The airline passenger terminal was dedicated to John R. Alison in 1979.

Gainesville-Alachua County Regional Airport Authority
In 1986, the State Legislature passed a bill that established the Airport as the Gainesville-Alachua County Regional Airport Authority. The Airport Authority, which consists of nine board members, five selected by the City of Gainesville, three by the Governor and one by Alachua County, continues to oversee the Airport to date.