Sheltair FBO Breaks Ground at New Airport

Sheltair Aviation broke ground on their new facility on Friday at their new location at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.  The airport opened last May with General Aviation operating out of the new facility since mid summer.

Of the two FBO’s that were operating out of the old Panama City Airport, Sheltair is the only one that was able to successfully negotiate new terms for operation at the new facility.   The airport just cut ties with H4C, taking back possession of their land in a $6 million eminent domain deal.

The new Sheltair facility at the new Panama City airport will consist of a 5,000 square foot terminal and a 9,000 square foot hangar.  Officials estimate that the new FBO facility will have a $5 million impact on the area.

Half Million Passengers at New Airport This Summer

With this summer’s perils, the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport still handled nearly three times as many passengers as the old airport did the same period last year, 446,135 passengers over 160,000 to be exact.  On top of that, parking needs have exceeded expectations, pushing the airport board to develop additional permanent parking.

All in all, traffic expectations have been exceeded across the board, especially considering the summer we had on the beach.  There is a lot of speculation about the viability of Southwest Airlines maintaining their presence here, though, with average passenger loads weighing in around 64%, but officials are optimistic that 2011 will be much better.

Check after the break to read the full press release.

Continue reading “Half Million Passengers at New Airport This Summer”

New Airport Passenger Traffic UP 170% over 2009

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.

New Airport Parking Already Feeling Squeeze from Increased Traffic

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.

Continue reading “New Airport Parking Already Feeling Squeeze from Increased Traffic”

RocknRoll Transit Offers Much Needed Shuttle Service to New Airport

If you are lucky enough to be flying in or out of the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport then you will undoubtedly be enjoying the benefits of this great facility – including low-cost fares, new gateway destinations and the state-of-the-art terminal buildings. However there’s one drawback for those without wheels.

Continue reading “RocknRoll Transit Offers Much Needed Shuttle Service to New Airport”

Panama City Beach and New Airport Featured on CNN and other videos

With the huge fanfare of the opening of the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport CNN aired a segment interviewing local officials and talking about the prospective economic prosperity that the new airport can bring.  Cool!

http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=us/2010/05/23/natpkg.gulf.airport.opens.cnn

Continue reading “Panama City Beach and New Airport Featured on CNN and other videos”

Video Preview of New Airport

Having been under construction for two and a half years, the new airport in Panama City is finally about to open.  Dubbed Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport, the new facility boasts the title of being the first commercial airport build in the U.S. since 9/11.  Not only is the new airport expected to change the dynamics of travel to our area, many are expecting increased growth and prosperity that would have been difficult to realize without this new addition to our area.

The grand opening ceremonies are this weekend with the airport being open to the public on Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm.  But, if you can’t wait, here is a video of the new airport.