Airport Authority Granted $4 Mil for State-of-the-Art Baggage System

IMG_1263The Panama City-Bay County International Airport Authority today announced that it has been awarded a Transportation Security Administration grant of just over $4 million dollars for a new Checked Baggage Inspection System at the new airport now under construction.

The grant will also be used for subsequent modifications needed for TSA to install an Explosive Detection system. The new airport is one of several airports to receive this system.

The state of the art security equipment is designed to enhance screening capabilities and airport safety and also facilitate customer service. Construction of the $318 million airport began in January 2008 and is scheduled to open in late May 2010.

Steve Earnest, Federal Security Director said, “This technology will strengthen security and streamline the baggage screening process.” He added, “This baggage handling system will better enable Panama City-Bay County International Airport to detect explosives and other threats while allowing for the growth of the new airport.”

What this means for you is a faster, safer and more efficient Checkin process, essentially cutting out additional lines and steps in getting you from the counter to the plane. As the representatives explained, this comprehensive system will allow patrons to give their bags at the Checkin counter, which will go through a behind the scenes screening process and out the door back to you safely and without waiting in any additional lines. The new technology will improve workplace safety for TSA employees by automating the baggage screening process, eliminating the need for passengers to walk checked baggage to a screening location and waiting for it to be cleared before proceeding to the security checkpoint. It will be the most up to date, efficient system in America.

The enhanced explosive detection technology also will provide on-screen viewing capabilities for TSA officers conducting baggage screening and reduce the number of re-scans and physical bag searches.

Is the New PCB Airport Still on Schedule?

Panama City-Bay County International Airport is still on time to meet its completion date. Taken from a recent article on the NEW-PFN website, here is an updated rundown of construction on the new site.

Contract 1: Heavy Civil and Airfield Lighting
Approximately 91% of contract is complete with 80% of contract time used.

Pond C grading is 99% complete.
Installing Airfield Edge Lighting Conduit and Plazas
Continuing installation of Airside underdrain pipe
Terminal Apron concrete pad is complete
Morrell and Kelly Branch restoration continues

Contract 2: Terminal Building, ATCT and Support Buildings
Approximately 47% of contract is complete with 52% of contract time used.


In the utility area completed form work and compaction and preparing for concrete pour.
Continuing metal framing on 1st and 2nd levels.
In the baggage handling area continuing exterior CMU walls. Work is 60% complete.

Air Traffic Control Tower:

Preparing for concrete pour of stairs and deck Levels 2,3 and 4.
Installing decking and metal stairs floors 5-9.

Terminal Support Facilities:

Air Maintenance Facility – continuing electrical rough-in walls at maintenance office and bays.
Air Cargo Facility – continuing with the installation of MR gypsum wall board.

Rental Car Facility:

Beginning the erection of the pre-engineered metal building.

Public Safety Building:

Continuing block installation at 2nd level administration area.


An average of 155 personnel are on site Monday through Friday and approximately three workers are on site on Saturday.

Contract 3: Utility Contract
Approximately 57% of contract work is complete with 54% of contract time used.

3W2? Power Distribution Duct Bank is 95% complete; installation of wiring by Gulf Power is ongoing.
Street Light Duct Work is 98% complete; light poles being installed (approx. 6-8 per day).
6W4? Power Distribution Duct Bank is 100% complete.
Jack and boring on Main Access Road for fire hydrant installation.
24? Water Main is 98% complete.
12? water main is 99% complete.
30? water main is 90% complete; installation continuing on the utility road.

Lift Station:

Lift Station is 50% complete; plumbing is being installed.

Fuel Farm:

Fuel Farm is 25% complete; electrical work is in progress.

Booster Station:

Booster Station is 40% complete; concrete roofs are poured.


Triturator is 10% complete; vault installation is underway.

Contract 4: Landscape/Hardscape Contract
Approximately 7% of the work is complete with 11% of the contract time used.

Construction is underway on overflow weirs on Main Access Road
Performing soil preparation on Main Access Road.
Hydro seeding of Main Access Road is underway.
Installing aquatic plants at main entrance.

Economic Development Potential for New Airport

Commerical Property News’ CPN Online has published an article detailing the economic development potential of the new Panama City – Bay County International Airport.

According to CPN Online:

Most of the country is waiting for the economy to turn, or even for the federal stimulus to have some measurable effect on local economies, but at least one part of the country has a third option. In the Florida panhandle, in particular the Panama City area, a new international airport–under construction, scheduled for completion next year–promises economic stimulation, both in terms of business growth and real estate development.

“A new business community will be able to grow around the new airport in a way that’s impossible around the existing airport, which is too small and too hemmed in for further expansion,” Randall S. Curtis, executive director of the Panama City-Bay County International Airport, told CPN. “But the long-term impact will involve more than development in the immediate vicinity of the airport. The entire region stands to benefit.”

The full article can be read here.


PC Airport Construction Update – PHOTOS

The new Panama City Airport is less than 12 months from completion and the on site action is really accelerating.  With new construction milestones being made on a weekly basis, new things seem to be growing out of the ground all the time.

The main 8,400 foot runway is 100% complete with final approval still pending from the FAA on the 10,000 foot extension.  I have no idea what the hold up is, only that I’ve been told that it is expected soon (they’ve been saying that for months!).  Once the approval comes in, however, construction of the runway extension will take less than 60 days.  They are also seeding and mulching the main access road for grass.   Sand is being installed on the bottom of Pond C.

The terminal construction is making great progress with the metal framing of the exterior walls in Area A on the 1st and 2nd floor helping to define the overall shape of the building.  The roof decking in Area A, B and a portion of C are almost complete.  The excavation for the pedestrian bridge construction has begun and the fire sprinkler installation in Area A (baggage claim area) has begun as well.

The existing terminal is just over 55,000 square feet.  The new terminal more than doubles the size at 120,000 square feet with ample room for ticket counters, baggage claim, TSA offices, and offices for the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau and a business center hosted by the Bay County Chamber of Commerce.

The air traffic control tower is growing with the structure over 100 feet tall.  The final tower will rise 15 stories into the sky.

Video of Environmental Damage at New Airport Site

Having been up there, I was able to take video of the creeks and waterways that serve as the natural water run-off point for the new Panama City Airport.  Again, I was able to see no apparent damage or side-effects of any damage.  However, apparently, after the comments in the other post, I would need to be in a helicopter to observe the claimed negative effects the airport construction site is having on the environment.

Airport Construction Update – Terminal 18% Complete

Contract 1: Heavy Civil and Airfield Lighting
Approximately 80% of the contract work is complete with only 54% of the contract time used.

  • 90% of the 15” concrete paving lanes have been placed on 8,400 linear feet of Runway 16-34.
  • On Taxiway D and main terminal apron, all lime rock base and the first lift of asphalt paving is in place with the 2nd of four lifts going down this week.
  • The centerline cans on the runway are approximately 36% complete.
  • The lighting cans in the Touch-down zone are approximately 55% complete.
  • Paving will begin this week on the General Aviation Access road.
  • 150 pieces of heavy equipment are in operation at any one time with approximately 200 personnel on site for the heavy civil and utilities contracts.

Contract 2:  Terminal Building, ATCT and Support Buildings
Approximately 18% of contract work is complete with 22.6% of contract time utilized.

Concrete pouring complete for Level 2 Area A. Shoring of Level 2 Areas B and C continues

Air Traffic Control Tower:
Cutting of auger cast piles to design length is complete. Forming for the pile cap has started.

Air Maintenance Facility:
Forming for pit walls continues.

Air Cargo Facility:
Continuing the installation of the pre-engineered metal building.

Public Safety Building:
Rough-in of the plumbing continues.

Rental Car Facility:
Installation of underground facilities continues.

The average man power on site for Contract 2 per day is 95 people based on a five day work week.

Contract 3:  Utility Contract
Approximately 8% of contract work is complete with 11% of contract time utilized.

Main Access Road:
3W2” Power Distribution Duct Bank is 36% complete.
Street light duct work is 50% complete.

Joyner Road:
24” directional bore is complete.
24” water main is 36% complete.

GA Access Road:
30” water main is 9% complete.

Lift Station:
Wet Well is installed.


Okaloosa's Northwest Florida Regional Airport Not Closing

Apparently Okaloosa’s Northwest Florida Regional Airport is not closing, and Okaloosa Airport officials are getting quite snappy about it.  I’ve heard this very rumor for quite some time and have actually participated in some of the speculation.

Some believe that it all started January of 2008 with the Panama City Beach’s Chamber let out an email blast to members that stated that Eglin Air Force Base would shut down commercial airport operations in order to preserve Eglin’s incoming Joint Strike Fighter mission.  I personally remember the email and thought it quite a bold move, but was unable to substantiate the statement.

Other locals to Panama City and Panama City Beach have been known to question whether the Okaloosa airport would stay open for much longer, including well-known attorney, William Harrison and former Panama City Beach Mayor and local news show host Lee Sullivan.  Recently, Sullivan had Panama City Bay County International Airport Director Randy Curtis on his show and made the comment that in the future Okaloosa would have airspace issues with Eglin that may lead to complications in commercial operations.  Harrison’s opinion is that it is of the best interest of the Florida Panhandle that Eglin’s military and the Joint Strike Fighter mission is of the highest priority.

Currently the Okaloosa County Commission is investigating the possibility of legal action against the Panama City Bay County International Airport and have also supported seeking the resignation of Jerry Ray from Coastal Vision 3000.  Ray is one of the VP’s of St. Joe and a prominent supporter of the New Panama City Airport.

Okaloosa’s Northwest Florida Regional Airport Director Greg Donovan said that they will be launching an advertising campaign to counter the rumors.  Recently the Air Force renewed their lease with Northwest Florida Regional through 2032.