Northwest Florida International Airport is always a fun topic. Everyone loves to talk about it, read about it and quote words like “projected passenger travel” and “estimated” while throwing numbers around so fast, that even Superman is starting to look a little windburned.
While numbers and statistics are a necessary evil in the realm of progress, reports and city planning, I’m the kind of person who lives life in the blunt lane, so instead of telling me percentages, I need to know how these numbers translate into simple Good Move/Bad Move terms.
On the off chance, that you, too, might be this kind of person, let me translate the newest numbers from our lovely Northwest Florida International Airport.
Airport-technology.com noted that “Panama City-Bay County International is expecting to host 600,000 passengers a year by 2020.” and while we may not be to that point, just yet, that number isn’t as daunting as it could be.
Southwest Airlines and Delta Airlines, have both reported an increase in travelers coming and going from our terminals and really, you don’t even need a report from them to find out if the airport is doing it’s job or not. Just go visit. The parking lot is overflowing, there are people waiting to board at gates, and there’s a line to get a hot cup of joe. All these signs say one thing to me, Airport Busy, Bring Book, Big Wait. Project Airport Relocation is a success.
Basically, our numbers are growing, and despite the chaos from earlier in 2010, we are still seeing a positive increase in passengers. I contacted a Southwest Airlines Communications and Emerging Media Specialist, looking for current numbers. The most recent numbers haven’t been posted from Southwest (publicly) since they typically work on a quarterly base, but I was directed to the RITA site.
RITA, stands for Research and Innovative Technology Administration. RITA offers vital transportation statistics and analysis, and supports national efforts to improve education and training in transportation-related fields. In short, it’s a Department of Transportation site.
The stats posted for Panama City/ International Airport reads as follows:
- 11,000 Arrivals, Ranked 351
- 9,209 Departures, Ranked 364
*Ranked among 823 US Airports, 12 months ending May 2010
- 91,000 Arrivals, Ranked 218
- 89,000 Departures, Ranked 220
*Ranked among 820 US Airports, 12 months ending July 2010
- 158,000 Arrivals, Ranked 183
- 157,000 Departures, Ranked 183
*Ranked among 816 US Airports, 12 months ending September 2010
My call to the actual airport confirmed more recent numbers, listed from May 23 through Nov 30. The amount of passengers the airport has seen trolloping through its building, runs at a respectable 446,135.
To be blunt, the airport is doing great and the coming year has enormous potential. The sheer volume of passengers is likely to continue it’s upswing, improvements will be made at the Airport as seen fit, and traveling in and out of Panama City Beach has never been easier.
Interesting side note though, if you look at the numbers from July, it looks like people fly in to Panama City…but few fly out. Thank you America, you love us! You really love us! One way ticket to the Emerald Coast please!