Airport Authority Approves Preliminary Work on 10,000 foot Commercial Runway
Construction of New Airport Months Ahead of Schedule
The Panama City – Bay County International Airport Authority announced its intentions this week to construct a 10,000-foot main runway at the new airport in West Bay, subject to obtaining necessary permits and approvals. The Authority previously authorized the design of the runway extension which takes this runway from 8,400 feet to 10,000 feet and today approved a thicker runway and centerline lighting to accommodate a 10,000 foot runway.
Earlier, the Airport Authority had approved an 8,400-foot concrete runway with the option to extend it to 10,000 feet, if funding became available. The Florida Legislature, during its 2008 legislative session, awarded the airport an additional $4.5 million in funding to lengthen the runway to 10,000 feet.
The Airport Authority has begun the permitting process for the runway extension. The change in runway length is not expected to impact the construction schedule. The Airport Authority currently expects to open the new airport on Memorial Day 2010, with the 10,000 foot runway completed.
“We appreciate the tremendous support we have received from the State of Florida for this new airport,” said Airport Authority Chairman Joe Tannehill. “The State knows how important this new facility is to the future of air service and economic development in Northwest Florida. It is an investment in the future of the Panhandle – and the future of Florida. This new runway will be the only 10,000 foot commercial runway in the Northwest Florida region.”
“From the beginning, our goal has been to build a new airport capable of serving the transportation and economic development needs of our region for decades to come,” said Tannehill. “The longer runway will put us in the strongest possible position to compete for better air service and large aviation-dependent economic development projects.”
“Our focus now must turn to marketing our new facility to commercial airlines, transportation and logistics businesses and other aviation and defense companies we have targeted as potential tenants of the new airport,” said Tannehill. “We are committed to improving the regions air service and expanding the economic base of Northwest Florida.”
Construction of the $318 million state-of-the-art airport began in January 2008 and is now nearly three months ahead of schedule. The runway has been graded and paving is scheduled to begin in early October, four months ahead of schedule.
The two-mile long main airport entry road has been completed, 80 percent of the storm sewer pipes are in place and the parking lot’s curbing and lime-rock base will be completed by the end of September.
“Construction of the new airport is going very well,” said Randy Curtis, the airport’s executive director. “It is truly amazing to see 10 years of planning coming to life.”