Halt on Panama City Airport Construction

by December 4, 2007 • 6 comments

A Federal Judge in New York issued an order on Thursday to temporarily block construction of the new Panama City Airport until a formal hearing can be held on December 18th.  The Friends of PFN, the Defenders of Wildlife, and the Natural Resources Defense Council sued the FAA last year to turn over the Record of Decision the FAA issued for the construction of the new airport in West Bay.

It is expected on December 18th that they will quickly rule on whether a permanent stay will be enacted.  The News Herald was kind enough to host the motion for stay document, it can be found here.

Other information on the airport relocation can be found here. 

I want to encourage discussion.  When I first started pcbdaily.com more than a year ago, the airport relocation was all over the news.  I had tons of people opposing the relocation post comments, and I don’t remember one valid point.

One example was the opposing argument that we don’t need a new airport, the one we have is at half capacity, so much so that new airlines won’t even come.  Our airport is at half capacity, that is a fact.  BUT, you have to realize, most people don’t fly out of here.  I don’t know one person (and I know many that travel) that flies out of here voluntarily except on the rare occasion it is cheaper to fly out of here than drive to Ft. Walton or Tallahassee.  Almost at any given time, it is double to fly out of PFN than it is from VPS.  Am I going to drive 90 minutes to save 200 bucks?  You bet I am, and so is everyone else.  And, new airlines won’t even think about coming here because the runway does not currently meet FAA standards for a safe landable runway.

Opposition: what about the 4,000 acres of land that is going to be cleared, paved, built upon, developed, etc.?   You mean the St. Joe-owned land that had been used to FARM pine trees for the production of paper and was harvested every 10 to 20 years for decades.  The land that eventually could be homes, office buildings, etc.?  What about the 14,000 acres donated specifically for conservation including almost all of the waterfront shoreline of the West Bay area (I don’t need to say, the most valuable).  What about the waters in the bay system and the estuary that would be damaged if the current runway was extended out into the bay to make the current runway up-to-standards?  After all, the environmentalists had a problem with this too years ago.  What are we supposed to do?  We can’t bring the existing airport up to code and can’t build a new one?

Tell me, opposition, what do you suggest?

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1 jamnolfin December 5, 2007 at 12:23 pm

They keep saying over and over that they will be filling in all these enviromentally sensitive wetlands. That is so not true. If this falls thru no telling what will happen to all that land. I wish people would look at the map of all the land they are donating. Linda from the Audubon society showed it to me, how can you say no thanks? What this comes down to is PC fighting the beach over everything. PC has always fought progress.


2 Mark Kleimeyer December 6, 2007 at 8:28 am

The thing about being at half capacity is mostly due to the rates. My family has lived here for 20 years and in that time we have flown about 40 times, only about 5 of them where from Panama City. We drive to Ft Walton or Tallahassee. Other time we drive to Orlando. Atlanta or other destinations due to the cost and what time would we save if you have to drive 2 hours to a Airport, get there 1 ½ hours early just to avoid a 6 hour road trip. For me and my family we would have bought at least another 100 paid flights out of Panama City if prices were better. I am sure that there are Thousands of locals out there that this applies to as well. There probably Hundreds of Thousands of tourist that chose to drive are not come at all due to the cost factor


3 Billy Morgan December 6, 2007 at 10:07 am

Those opposed to the new Airport,at least on the local
level,need to look at the “big picture”.If this were
merely a “re-location” of a small regional(we are
regional even though we sport the name International)
airport,then the argument would be more valid.The truth is there is an urgent need for “relief hubs” to
our already jammed packed major airports in the southeast.The major players in this have far more vision than just a “re-location”.The economy is global & we will soon be a part of that “big picture”.
This view has been kept hidden for good reason.If we
can learn to read between the lines,we will understand
this 10 year process will happen due to the facts listed above.All the major hurdles have been navigated & the fact is this is one of the most “green” airports the nation will see.I also believe a name change is eminent due to the fact that the new airport really will be “International” this time.My vote is in for “Sunshine State International
Airport”.Maybe we can have a local vote on something
that will really count…the renaming of our new
“International Airport”.


4 Entinc January 10, 2008 at 10:06 am

Anything new on what transpired at the December 18th Hearing?