Built based on estimated traffic expectations, the parking lot at the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is already proving inadequate. The board has already had to open up a temporary unpaved overflow parking area to ease complaints of not enough parking spaces for travelers.
Despite the oil spill malady over the summer, airport traffic numbers were still significantly up this summer over last year’s travel numbers. The parking lot at the new airport has just under 1100 parking spots, with roughly 45% apportioned for long-term parking, 20% for short-term parking and the remaining for rental cars and employee parking.
The board is planning for an addition to the existing parking, with bids for construction to go out in the next few weeks. The parking lot addition will be on the 10 acre lot just to the west of the current parking facility. Officials are expecting the new parking area to be completed by spring of 2011, just in time for the kick off to the 2011 tourist season. The new lot will more than likely be used for primarily long-term parking and could as much as double the parking capability at the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The new parking area will be constructed and opened in phases and should begin construction before the end of the year.