Construction Update – New Panama City Bay County International Airport

by May 16, 2008 • 12 comments

Panama City Airport Aerial

Huge progress has been made since construction began at the beginning of the year at the new Panama City Bay County International Airport site north of up Highway 79 north of Highway 388 in Bay County.

The entire site consists of 4,000 acres that can be used for the airport and all future expansions with a total 1,300 acres permitted for construction right now. Phase I will include a primary runway of 8,400 feet and a secondary cross-wind runway of 5,000 feet. The primary runway will run almost due north at 340 degrees with the secondary at around 50 degrees.

Labeled Siteplan

The primary runway preparatory work includes site prep for extensions of up to 2,000 additional feet on the south side and 2,000 additional feet on the north side with a total eventual runway length of 12,400 feet. In addition, the 4,000 acre site will allow for an additional 8,400 feet runway that will run parallel with the primary runway should demand require it in the future. If demand requires the additional runway length on the primary runway, the actual paving process should only take a few months.

Currently, clearing and grubbing (the removal of stumps and roots) of the entire 1,300 acres is almost complete with grading already taking place for the runways and road entry way from Highway 388. There is an almost 60 foot elevation difference between the south and north part of the new Panama City Airport property. The grading process will level the road and runway by scraping up dirt from the north part and dumping, flattening and compacting it on the south part of the property. Huge trucks drive back and forth every day slowly completing this process. The main roadway connecting the airport with Highway 388 is 150 feet wide.

Also, the installation of storm water drains and culverts is taking place and will continue throughout construction.

Timelines

The grading of the runways and road entry ways is on schedule to be complete late summer/early fall with the paving to begin immediately upon completion of grading. Paving should be complete by fall 2009.

Vertical – the construction of the terminal, air traffic control facilities, safety facilities, air cargo building, maintenance facilities, rental car facilities and the fuel farm – is set to begin fall 2008 and should be complete by late 2009 or early 2010.

Construction of the general aviation area should begin early 2009 which will include the corporate hangars, private hangars and FBO’s. The two current FBO’s at the current airport are planning to move when the new airport is operational. They are Sheltair and Precision AvJet.

When the new Panama City Bay County International Airport is complete, it will go through stringent tests to receive its certifications through the FAA. All air traffic control equipment and personal is provided by the FAA (I’m sure at a cost).

When the airport is ready, the old airport (PFN) will close one day and the new airport will open the next day.

The existing airport is a test bed for TSA, which works closely with the Navy Base located in Panama City Beach. The new airport will be a “clean slate” for surveylance and people and baggage screening testing.

Also, the Airport Authorities goal is to obtain LEED‘s silver status certification by using all recycled materials including concrete, carpet fibers, etc. All landscaping and vegetation will be native plant species transplanted from the surrounding areas.

Current construction schedule includes:

  • Embankment: May 12 – June 17
  • Storm Sewer and Structures: May 12 – June 23
  • Lime Rock: June 2 – June 30
  • Asphalt Road Surfaces: June 23 – June 30
  • Excavate Wet Pond: May 12 – May 26
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1 Jim Palmer May 16, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Great news! Thank you for staying on top of this.

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2 Joe May 20, 2008 at 6:53 am

We’re looking more like Tampa every day.

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3 Robert R Estes May 20, 2008 at 4:14 pm

Thanks for keep the people of PCB informed the airport will be a great boom for PCB. Thanks Bob Estes

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4 John Klitts May 21, 2008 at 5:45 am

As a frequent traveler, I know that airport restaurants are the “face” that travelers see last in a city as they leave. While it is typically a world of bad service, poor food and silly prices, the face our “No Class” airport restaurant puts on us is just plain ugly.

I hope we will make a concerted effort to improve the service and food quality at the new airport. The current arrangement at the airport is so bad, that I am told that the TSA and other employees will not eat there. There is no resemblance between what was described in the menu and what I got the last time I ate there.

The service, staffed, apparently, by halfway house employees (for a tax break?), is downright rude, ignorant and uncaring. A recent incident took this to an extreme – over a simple comment I made about the clock hanging over the bar.

While waiting for a flight recently, I commented that the clock in the airport was hard to read. You would have thought I had personally insulted someone’s mother or otherwise stuck my foot in my mouth. The first reaction was essentially “What? You don’t like our clock?”

I tried to explain that there used to be a digital clock that was easier to read and got shouted at across the room by a waitress I had never seen in there before and was told there was never any digital clock. I have been flying out of that airport regularly for about 3-1/2 years and there used to be a digital clock to just the right of the bottle beer refrigerator.

Woman who was apparently the manager was sitting there saw all this. I tried to tell her that being able to see the time clearly was important to a traveler so they would not miss thier flight. I got cut off in mid sentence, was told to wear a watch, and practically got laughed at. I was appalled at these reactions. I voiced my disgust, cancelled my order, advised them I would file a formal complaint and walked out.

Standing in line to go into security to board my plane, I was then approached by a policeman that the restaurant folk had apparently called to make trouble for me. I told him I was appalled they would attempt to cover themselves like that and explained the situation to him.

The policeman then asked if he could do anything for me. I told him to let the administration know that the restaurant at the airport is giving Panama City a bad name and not to let the restaurant try to use him to intimidate visitors. I then boarded the plane (without further hassle).

I think if I had been a tourist, instead of a resident that has flown out of Panama City nearly 100 times in the last 3-1/2 years, I would have sworn to not come back.

This, over a clock that they can get, by the way, from the beer distributor for free (I think the old one was a Michelob sign) and that will provide just a bit of customer service and comfort. DISGUSTING !

p.s. On the other hand, while I hate to even put it in the same discussion, the Chamber of Commerce lounge at the airport is superb. It is rather unique among any of the airports I have been to and makes the Panama City Airport the only small airport with a business lounge that I know of. Kudos to the Chamber and I hope they will continue that at the new airport !

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5 Joe June 4, 2008 at 8:27 am

United just grounded all of it’s 737 and 747 aircraft to save fuel. Planes, like cars, are getting smaller and more efficient. No need for this airport.

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6 Doug February 18, 2009 at 3:52 pm

Am interested in getting up-dated info. on the construction progress and competion schedule of this Airport. It will not only relieve a lot of the pressure and delays at Atlanta International but will bring much needed support industries to the local economy not to mention the number of employees directly employed by the Airport it’self. Any info. conserning the construction and completion will be greatly appreciated.

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7 KJ January 8, 2010 at 9:50 pm

I want to know why 388 has been paved twice and now the last mile of 388, close to 79, has been scraped…? only to be repaved once again. What is this purpose? Are you guys going to add a bicycle lane on each side now? or make it wide enough for a future turn lane? Why is this one-laning road construction on this 12 mile road taking almost a year!!!!???????????

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8 Tammy Zacherl April 23, 2010 at 8:19 pm

Will the new airport be hiring at some point? If so, what kind of positions will be available?
thanks.

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