New Airport Construction Aerials Released

by October 2, 2009 • 12 comments

Boy how time flies when you’re having fun.  With construction to end in just 8 short months and planes to start landing on the new runway the construction process seems to be flying by.  I remember thinking how far away May 2010 seemed when they started construction.

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1 Brian October 2, 2009 at 11:36 am

If you look closely enough, you can see a dusky seaside sparrow and red-cockaded woodpecker fighting over a flatwoods salamander in the fifth picture.

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2 Jason Koertge October 2, 2009 at 11:43 am

Brilliant. 😀

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3 Don Hodges October 5, 2009 at 8:12 am

For some reason the airport never seems to be able to find the latest aerials. Those taken Sept 22 show the big sand filter is now full of mud, and the entire crosswind runway area is under water. And the fines keep piling up…

A link:
http://bit.ly/NewPFN-Sept-22-09

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4 Roy Willett October 6, 2009 at 8:05 am

Weather normally dictates the eaxt date when the photos can be taken. Latest aerials from last week just received.

The big sand filter (Pond C) is holding rainwater, not mud, though from the photos I’ll admit its hard to tell. The stormwater being held in the X-wind and other features will be released with acceptable turbidity levels after FDEP confirms exact upland discharge points.

The “continuing fines” is simply an indicator that the FDEP remains very actively engaged on the project site (which is considered a positive by all). All parties involved have a vested interst in meeting the permit requirements and completing the work asap.

Take heart – Construction is always a bit of a bumpy ride. The airport and the environmental plan on which it was based will be a long term positive for the area.

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5 Jon Hooper October 6, 2009 at 8:27 am

Hi Roy,

We take the aerial photos of the airport. We try to get them as close to the end of each month as possible. Sometimes the weather delays us for up to a week. Vertical photos are done at 8500 & 2500 ft while the obliques are all done at 1100 ft. We deliver over 100 images. The last set were done on the 1st of Oct.

Jon Hooper
JoeBay Aerials, Port St Joe
229-1215

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6 Don Hodges October 6, 2009 at 11:05 am

Acres of sand under turbid water if you wish, but it sure isn’t rainwater or it would be released. Very bad for a select-sand dry filter – it may have to be replaced.

Incurring fines being a good thing – well, that speaks for itself.

Please note I’m the commenter NOT being paid by the airport.

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7 Marc October 13, 2009 at 9:26 am

Don’t worry about it Roy. You guys have done a wonderful job out at the site. Folks like Mr. Hodges are just against everything. They will always be against anything that is good for the future of this community.

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8 Lark Ledbetter October 13, 2009 at 11:46 am

How many gates will new airport have? I hate the name. Someone said it’s a sentence.

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9 Don Hodges October 13, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Marc,
As far as I know, we have never met so its difficult for you to know what I’m for and against. I worked a long time improving and building airports, so I’m sure not against airports. I’m always for the truth and this project has abused it pretty badly. I admit I come from a generation that respects accountability and justification for public funds, concepts that seem far less important today. This project hardly needs critics, the boosters most often make it look bad.

Lark,
The new airport will have six gates, and three will actually be active unless some new service is announced.

I am curious like everyone else about the prospects for a new airline. I will be quite surprised if Southwest serves any airport in NW Florida next year because of the economy, not the airports. Its an interesting question and the facts are:

Pensacola has by far the most traffic, about 1.5 million per year, with a market reaching from Mississippi to Destin, primarily because of Airtran. PNS is very close to being in the top 100 airports, a charmed circle since the top 100 carry about 94 PERCENT OF ALL PASSENGERS. Many people don’t realize how top-loaded the traffic is, and how hard it is to climb into the top 100. Runway-wise, Pensacola is almost identical to LaGuardia, and I-10 passes a couple of miles away.

Okaloosa/NWF Regional has about 2.5x the traffic of NWF-PCI(New-PFN), about 800,000 per year, and PFN has about 330,000, less traffic than ten years ago.

So, the ranking from smallest to largest is PFN, VPS (2.5x PFN), PNS (almost10x PFN).

In the absence of a sudden shift of service, traffic doubles about every 20 years, so do the math to compare the potential of the smaller airports.

In its smaller markets, Southwest usually serves 5 or 6 nonstop destinations, with about half point-to-point and half “beyond” traffic. One 737 can carry about 90,000 passengers per year, so 6 can carry 540,000. Southwest doesn’t get ALL the traffic, so the overall airport traffic needs to be close to a million. Only Pensacola approaches this traffic today, but already has Airtran so Southwest will not get its usual fraction of the total.

Southwest needs about 3 destinations with 100,000 passengers per year, with the balance of its 540,000 connecting or going beyond the first stop. The largest present markets from PFN are New York and Washington, with about 9,000 per year and three airports splitting the traffic at each city. All the other markets are splintered into 3 to 5 passengers per day, about 1,000 to 2,000 per year. WHERE DOES SOUTHWEST SERVE TO GENERATE 10X THESE NUMBERS?

This leads me to believe Southwest will serve Pensacola first, perhaps driving Airtran out, and probably later than next year. Airtran would have much greater potential to be profitable from New-PFN because of the AirTran hub in Atlanta. This hub can work with the fragmented market much better than Southwest can.

If Airtran were to leave Pensacola (they have left Mobile, VPS, and Tallahassee already), they would probably go to the airport offering the most subsidy, or subsidy being equal, to the most traffic (VPS). So, the ball is squarely in the court of the local Chambers, TDC’s, and businesses. Before the bidding starts, though, consider carefully: AirTran or Southwest (or anybody else) will not sign a long term lease, so the subsidy is totally at risk month to month. Is this the best use of local marketing funds? Its not my field – I don’t know, just asking. I do know how difficult it will be to deliver sufficient passengers to interest Southwest, and that $10 Million is peanuts in this game.

None of the airlines are looking for new places to serve – they are in survival mode and some will not make it through this winter. Having a new airport is of great interest to us, but makes little difference to an airline, so we may be talking about this for years to come.

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