This week we went up to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and took a tour of the facility, got some cool footage of planes taking off and talked to the Deputy Executive Director, Parker McClellan.
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I thought the old website looked pretty good, but apparently it lacked some desired functionality. The new website just launched Tuesday of this week and features “an updated design, social media integration and streamlined information for travelers, including a new real-time flight tracking feature.”
As you know, the new airport is located just north on Highway 79 and to the east about 5 miles on Highway 388. It was relocated there a couple years back in what was a bold and revolutionary move as it was the first new airport to be built since 9/11/01.
We’re planning on visiting the new airport again (we’ve obviously been a ton of times) to shoot a video tour for our readers.
What are some of the things you’d like to see us show?
Press release for the website launch
PANAMA CITY, FL (February 14, 2012) – Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport has unveiled a new website that will make traveling even more convenient for flyers. The new website features an updated design, social media integration and streamlined information for travelers, including a new real-time flight tracking feature.
The Airport understands that a seamless online experience is more important than ever in an increasingly interactive world where most consumers are making their travel plans online.
“We wanted to provide our customers with a website that quickly answers their questions and allows them to effortlessly make travel decisions” said John Wheat, the Airport’s Executive Director.
Website visitors can obtain real time updates on arrivals and departures, follow flights on an interactive route map and track individual flights throughout the country.
Residents looking for a getaway will be able to choose from the Airport’s daily direct flights with service to Atlanta, GA (ATL), Baltimore, MD (BWI), Houston, TX (HOU), Nashville, TN (BNA), and Orlando, FL (MCO), as well as connecting service to worldwide destinations.
Website visitors looking to learn more about what Northwest Florida has to offer will be seamlessly connected to the Airport’s exceptional tourism partners who stand ready to help them plan the perfect getaway to Panama City, Panama City Beach, Florida’s Forgotten Coast or the 15 Beach Neighborhoods of South Walton.
“Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport offers the lowest average airfares in the region, allowing travelers to save an average of $150 on each trip they take,” said Andy McKenzie, Chairman of the Airport’s Board of Directors. “The new website is an important tool in helping us spread the word that our Airport is the most convenient and cost effective option.”
The Airport will also soon be launching a mobile site that is fully compatible with handheld devices. This site will provide a more user friendly experience when viewing from a mobile device, whether at the Airport or on the go.
For more information, visit www.IFlyBeaches.com.
The new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport had record breaking numbers this past summer, despite local difficulties. We had tons of traffic coming in, but we also had more traffic going out than we’ve ever seen here before. In fact, the number of people going out far exceeded expectations, so much so that the parking that was developed was not sufficient and the airport was forced to open temporary parking adjacent to the existing parking lot.
In a filing yesterday with the United States SEC, St. Joe announced that they’ve executed an agreement between the Airport District and their new commercial development on the new airport property, the VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre. This agreement grants through-the-fence access to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport’s taxiways and runways for companies within the VentureCrossings Enterprise Centre.
In case you’ve been wondering whether the construction of the new airport was in vain, 2010 passenger traffic since the new airport has been open is almost triple what it was in 2009, during the 2010 summer months. Despite the threat of oil on our beaches, the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport and all the marketing horsepower that was brought to the market by Southwest Airlines has been considered a huge success.
A normal July and August usually brings about 30,000 people per month through the old Panama City airport, but this summer there was around 83,000 per month. This number comes as a huge welcome and leaves immense speculation: what would it have been like had we NOT had the oil spill scare?
Icing on the cake was October’s numbers, 73,000 passengers came through the new airport – attributed to fall breaks around the country, national holidays and a series of successful fall events on Panama City Beach.
As if increased traffic wasn’t enough, the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport seems to be drawing travelers regionally as well. The parking lot frequently has cars from Tallahassee, Dothan, Ft. Walton, Destin, and even Pensacola. The July and August numbers were also higher than Tallahassee’s passenger traffic numbers, for the first time ever – who normally come in at around 50,000 per month.
The word seems to be getting out that traveling to Panama City Beach is easier than it has ever been. Mike Bennet, TDC Chairman and local restaurateur commented at Tuesday’s TDC meeting of a conversation he had with a visitor to one of his restaurants: “They were from Dallas, TX and normally took their beach vacation in Corpus Christi, and were surprised at how accessible and beautiful Panama City Beach was – they said they’d be coming back every year.” This message was resounded by others recounting similar stories with customers.
Total annual traffic is now expected to be around 600,000 to 700,000 at the new Panama City Airport, which isn’t far off from big-city Pensacola, who passes around a million travelers through its gates every year.
One of the cool things about bringing in Southwest Airlines to the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport was that we get to take advantage of SWA’s amazing marketing success. This proven track record of creating an immense brand awareness so far has proven invaluable so far in marketing Panama City Beach, and it couldn’t come at a better time.
In a recent airport authority board meeting, Airport Director reported to the board that traffic at the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport was up almost 200% over the traffic at the old Panama City airport during June of 2009. This is great news as traffic is higher than anticipated and surely a shot in the arm to our local economy and shot over the bow of airport nay-sayers.