Airport Traffic up almost 200% Over Last Year, Despite Oil Crisis

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by August 2, 2010 • 7 comments

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.

Outbound traffic June 2010 totaled over 40,000 passengers with well over half using Southwest Airlines. Total traffic, both inbound and outbound totaled over 80,000 in June, nearly tripling the numbers from June of 2009.  These numbers best the total traffic numbers of both the Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Ft. Walton AND the Tallahassee Regional Airport.

The 2010 revenue is, at this point, projected to be over $8 million.  This number is nearly double the number from 2009, which was just over $4 million.  Of course, with increased revenue, the plane load percentages have been up as well with Southwest ringing in at an average 81% occupied per plane and Delta at average 78% occupied per plane.

The daily average offering of seats at the new facility is over 1,800 seats compared to Ft. Walton’s 1,500 seats and Tallahassee’s 1,300 seats.  This time last year, the old airport in Panama City only offered a measly 500 seats.

All in all, despite the oil crisis and speculation from new airport opposition, just one month into operations, the new airport is performing better than anticipated and easily out-pacing old numbers and quickly out-pacing the numbers of its competition.

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1 Isaac Eiland-Hall August 2, 2010 at 6:13 pm

This is such amazingly good news. I think air travel will beget more air travel if it means we can support Southwest and Delta.The more people hear about how great our community is, the more will come.

I can’t believe the numbers are that good with the oil… this is great.

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2 jamnolfin August 2, 2010 at 9:38 pm

I can’t believe the numbers are that good with the oil… this is great.

What oil? I never saw a drop all year and i bet you didnt either. I live less than a football field from the gulf. Im tired of hearing about that crap. We have taken a beating over something that never was and its time to move on.

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3 James D. August 2, 2010 at 7:05 pm

It will be interesting to see if traffic at the new airport maintains a higher percentile (versus 2009) during the fall and winter months. When overall passenger flow drops-off from its summer high, one has to surmise the “Southwest Effect” will at least keep the numbers higher than last year!

However, the question that will undoubtedly arise:
Will Southwest scale-back to just one flight a day between each of the four cities it serves — or will they strategically swap a flight or two and provide service to/from additional locales that might make more sense during the off-season??
(For example: ECP-BWI moves to one flight a day in off-season, second flight replaced with a ECP-MDW route to accommodate snowbirds)

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4 Jason Koertge August 6, 2010 at 12:34 pm

This will be interesting to see, surely.

Southwest, I beleive is contractually bound to offer two flights a day, minimum to each of the four direct cities, regardless of season.

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5 Terry G. August 3, 2010 at 7:06 pm

This is great news. I know I’m going my bit as myself and my wife and daughter are coming to PCB from Vancouver, and it’ll be nice to actually land in PCB for a change. We are also going to be joined by a couple from Prague, so Prague to Panama City Beach.. That maybe a first. Since they are arriving via Atlanta my guess is they’re flying Delta, and we’re flying Southwest.

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6 Peggy August 10, 2010 at 2:48 pm

I find this extremely hard to believe with all the delays and having to fly into Destin and be bussed over. Show us the actual numbers…if this is really true. Or is this report like all the others concerning the new airport….telling everyone what they want us to hear rather than the actual truth. I live here and work two jobs…both tourist driven and have already been cut to four hours a week at one and to two shifts of 5.5 hours each a week at the other at Pier Park. Who can pay the bills this way?? So show me the numbers because it sure doesn’t look like things are “better” than last year from where we stand.

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