NEW NAME for the Panama City Airport

by October 7, 2009 • 37 comments

At this morning’s special-called Airport Authority meeting, the only topic on the table was the new name for the new airport.  For months, this has been a topic of intense debate and we had a HUGE surge of interest here at pcbdaily just three weeks ago with over 100 comments on the article we published about it.

Clearly the most obvious favorite of the bunch was Emerald Coast International, and this name’s popularity rang true with the Airport Authority’s submissions as well.  5 names total were submitted to the board for review today: Emerald Coast International Airport, Northwest Florida International Airport, Florida International Airport, Florida Beaches International Airport and Beaches International Airport.  I was told today that Emerald Coast International could not be used for legal reasons, although I was not told what the reasons were.

The Authority discussed the need for a name that had regional application, but still defined where the traveler was coming to.  A name that was regional in nature is needed to entice low-cost carriers to our area because it has the insinuation of a broader service base.  And that’s true, isn’t it?  The new airport will very much serve our area in a regional way attracting those whose final destination could range anywhere from Pensacola to Tallahassee and beyond.

So, I’ve held you off long enough, are you sitting on the edge of your seat yet?  The new name for the new Panama City Airport is: Northwest Florida – Panama City International Airport.  I know it’s a mouthful, but the Authority believed the need to retain the Panama City affiliation in the name so as to ensure people understood that they were flying into our charming area.  I say, who cares, but what do I know.

“After listening to the extensive feedback and gathering suggestions from the community, we decided to go with a name that reflects the geographic area the new airport will serve,” said Airport Authority Chairman Joe Tannehill.  “This truly is Northwest Florida’s international airport and will be this region’s gateway to the world – and the world’s gateway to our region,” said Airport Authority Vice Chairman Bill Cramer.

With the new name ALSO comes a new three letter airport identifier code.  This has yet to be chosen but Randy Curtis said that PCI is available.  In some previous posts it was commented that at no time in history as an identifier changed for an existing airport, but I’d like to point out that we are getting an entirely new airport, therefore, everything can change!

With the new name will come an entirely new era of travel to our region of Florida.  I know there are issues with grass right now, and the stormwater runoff isn’t completely under control yet, but I’m confident that these are all issues that will be taken care of in due time.  The impact this new airport will have on our area will change us forever.

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1 Bearabull October 7, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I think the name is too long


2 John October 8, 2009 at 9:11 am

Northwest Florida International….PFN….Panama City
Northwest Florida Regional….VPS…Destin/Ft Walton

Yeah – I will know where I am flying…..

Change the ICAO code to… DUM


3 BAMA GIRL October 8, 2009 at 9:11 am

BIG NAME BIG things to come for PCB!!!!!


4 John October 8, 2009 at 9:12 am

We really should be told what the legal reason was for not choosing “Emerald Coast”

Sounds like a non-sunshine law answer to me.


5 Jason Koertge October 8, 2009 at 9:59 am

John, I don’t think it is being withheld, I just don’t know what the answer was and I don’t think it was well explained during the meeting. I have put the question into Randy Curtis, the Airport Director.


6 Isaac Eiland-Hall October 8, 2009 at 9:42 am

I think it works. It’s a bit long, but so is the “Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport”, which is referred to as “DFW”…

PCI sounds like a good code… And I bet people will call it “Panama City International” or “NW Florida International”… Or… NFPC? 🙂


7 paul October 8, 2009 at 9:57 am

The authority missed the boat the airport services/sells the area not just Panama City bad call


8 Richard October 8, 2009 at 10:26 am

Well one thing if for sure, they picked a name that will please no one, will definately be confused with Destin, and will not work well on any signs or logos. Typical of decisions made by committees. At least they did not name it after a person.


9 Larry October 8, 2009 at 10:51 am

I agrees with Richard. Why have the same name as the Fort Walton Beach Airport. Creativity is missing here!


10 Bob Douglas October 8, 2009 at 11:40 am

I am glad it is done so we can move on to publicity. In the log run, the name identifies the region ( to the world) as well as the city to those who already know us. Lets move on and get some new carriers!


11 Jason Koertge October 8, 2009 at 11:52 am

Amen to that my friend.


12 Bob Baker October 8, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Just another example of why do we give these people power to mess up things!


13 Rob October 8, 2009 at 12:37 pm

I am glad the name is settled, but would have preferred the Emerald Coast Intl. Hopefully Jason finds out from the airport director.
NWFL-Panama City International might come to be called PCI as one commenter noted, and that would be a good thing.

In my hometown, Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport just goes by (thankfully) BWI.


14 Melissa Ryan October 8, 2009 at 1:32 pm

How exciting to hear the new name of our NEW AIRPORT!!!!
It is just awesome!!! When I moved to Panama City back in the late 70’s, it was just a dream and now the dream is real.
It is the location that fits the need for Northwest Florida so the name is very appropriate. We have needed this airport for soooo long. Now our travelers will soon be able to board larger jets and have more affordable travel arrangements. This is just wonderful!!!
Thank you for sharing the GOOD NEWS!!
Melissa Ryan


15 Traveling Terri October 8, 2009 at 2:28 pm

Couldn’t agree more with moving on. The name is ok, and it probably will be call Panama City Int’l…that’s good for us. Does anyone know how I can get in touch with my two favorite airlines, Southwest and Delta, to encourage a non-stop from Chicago to PCI???


16 Lisa Egstad October 8, 2009 at 2:53 pm

There is probably not one single name that will make everyone happy, so lets just agree to disagree and be glad it’s opening in less than 8 months!


17 Chris October 8, 2009 at 4:35 pm

As someone who doesn’t come from the area I like the name. All it really need to be is functional – people don’t choose their destination based on how aesthetically pleasing the airport name is. Can’t imagine too many people would confuse this airport with the one is Destin since Panama City is part of the name. Good luck to the airport authority in attracting more, particularly low-cost carriers.


18 Luke Douglas October 8, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Definitely too long and confusing for some who have flown out of Northwest Florida Regional Airport. You should have just kept it at Panama City International Airport. Short and sweet.

Man, people think ‘way’ too much!


19 Don October 8, 2009 at 4:44 pm

Very bad choice in names. This was an opportunity to do something good for the area and the opportunity was lost. An effort has been made to unite the area for the benefit of all, but selfishness got in the way.


20 anonymous November 7, 2009 at 12:45 pm

wtf are you talking about??


21 Wendy B October 8, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Everything, we missed the mark on this one. I cannot agree more with John’s comment above, this will do nothing but cause confusion for the novice traveler coming to Panama City. We lost a big opportunity to rebrand and market this area, only to fall in the shadow of Destin once again.

Northwest Florida – Panama City International Airport
Northwest Florida Regional….VPS…Destin/Ft Walton

Google Northwest Florida Airport, VPS it is.


22 Richard Scott October 8, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Finally, a name. Not the best name, but a name. I will follow why Emerald Coast could not be used. The only legal reason I can think of Emerald Coast might be copyrighted with the State of Florida. I guess everyone will get used to it. Panama City is part of it and it is situated in Bay County, not PC or PCB. PCB, you need to expand the city limits just like every other community around PC. A tremendous amount of people who live on the Beach, think they live within PCB and suddenly they find out they do not. PCB needs to be Bridge to Bridge as proposed several years ago.


23 Susie October 9, 2009 at 2:33 am

We may be the only airport in the country that will have more letters in it’s name than it has passengers. Think of airports like O’Hare, JFK, Orly, Heathrow, Gatwick but we pick a name nobody will remember or will confuse with another airport. But wait ~ that might be helpful.. People like Destin! I just hope they won’t be too disappointed when they find out they’ve arrived at the wrong place.


24 JeffM October 9, 2009 at 10:56 am

Boy, did they ever screw up. The new name is too long and too similar to the Regional’s name. Why is it when a handfull of people get together as a group, they can’t do such a simple task as pick a unique name. Technically, they did pick a unique name. But to some smuck in Europe, trying to get airline tickets to PCB, there will be no real difference. I wonder how many hapless foreign travellers are going to find themselves deplaning at Destine…because a handfull of people couldn’t do a decent job of naming their airport.


25 Chris October 10, 2009 at 9:08 am

Emerald Coast International was the best name. I too am waiting to hear the explanation why this name could not be chosen for “legal” reasons.

There was a chance to choose a name which in the long run would have helped advertise the area as a unique destination. Instead, a name was chosen which will advertise we’re in the North (i.e. burr, cold) part of Florida. I agree people don’t consciously choose an area to vacation based on the name, but subconsciously the name does not send a “come to a warm place with the most beautiful beaches in the world” message like Emerald Coast International would have.

A huge opportunity to help advertise the area was truly missed here.


26 Janis October 13, 2009 at 8:08 am

I guess they could have called it “The World’s Most Beautiful Beaches Airport” or “Florida’s Great Northwest Airport” or “The Beach” airport….aren’t those all of the other marketing catch phrases that have been used over the years to identify the area?
I guess my point is like Rick said last night on the news…you can’t make everyone happy. Nothing is perfect. As time goes on, it will end up like it is in Atlanta. You don’t say Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport…you simply say I’m flying out of Atlanta or I’m flying into Atlanta. If someone is flying here on vacation from Germany, I can’t fathom that they are so dumb that they wouldn’t know exactly where they are flying to. If they don’t maybe they shouldn’t be flying…period. I’d be willing to bet that within the first 3 months of opening it’s just the good ole “Panama City” Airport.


27 Sonja October 13, 2009 at 8:28 am

I’m so excited I don’t care what they call it!! People know what city they are flying into before they know the name of the airport! What’s the big deal??


28 Leanna October 13, 2009 at 8:38 am

Emerald coast means IRELAND! duh


29 Isaac Eiland-Hall October 13, 2009 at 8:51 am

If fact, Leanna, if you visit the Wikipedia entry for “Emerald Coast”, you’ll find that it lists our beaches – and doesn’t even offer a disambiguation page for Ireland’s coast.

That tells me that “Emerald Coast” is *not* applied to Ireland often at all. It is, however, known as the “Emerald Isle”.


30 Leanna October 13, 2009 at 3:30 pm

oh you mean that wikipedia entry someone just made up and has in BOLD letters that this article does not site references or sources other than lord-knows-who wrote it? What do you think our Euro friends (aka Tourists using an INTERNATIONAL airport) would more closely associate emerald with?

And jeffM apparently thinks the “poor shmucks in europe” are too dumb to tell the difference between this and destin’s airport anyway!



31 Isaac Eiland-Hall October 14, 2009 at 9:43 am

You *obviously* have no clue how Wikipedia operates. How do you think dictionaries and printed encyclopedias work? Are the magically sent from the heavens with no interaction from mere mortals? Nevermind that you missed citations in the article because you clearly have no understanding of it.

Good grief.


32 Leanna October 14, 2009 at 10:26 am

printed encyclopedias? what are you like 90 yrs old???


33 Susie October 14, 2009 at 1:44 pm

Well, if they are truly going to look for a “NEW” name, perhaps they should look up the defination of NEW as opposed to USED. Do we not have anyone on the Airport Authority that is smart enough to come up with a name that is ours alone? Think of this a different way. When
the NEW shopping area came to the beach, it wasn’t named
Seaside – Panama City Beach or Silver Sands – Panama City Beach. NO, it was given a NEW name “Pier Park”. Let’s see if we can’t do the same for this multi million dollar airport. Think NEW……..


34 Mark October 19, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Does anyone have an idea of what kind of service will be available from this “international” airport? I’m guessing we won’t be able to get direct flights to Europe, but will they be offering direct flights to other major hubs besides Atlanta? All this new airport talk is great and all, but it doesn’t mean anything until I hear what the service will actually be.


35 Jason Koertge October 19, 2009 at 9:36 pm

You are absolutely right, the new airport will have little impact on the area without quality service. The Airport Authority has been in talks with Southwest, but no commitment has been made yet. I am unaware of any other “low-cost” airlines the airport authority is in talks with, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t talking to others, just that I’m not a very good “investigative-reporter”. 😉

As far as international flights, I know they have been talking to Virgin and another British airline and both have expressed a willingness to pursue a relationship. Sorry if that seems vague, but the industry will not allow the board to release any specific information as to where they are in discussions as it is competitively risky for the airlines to allow a message to get out prematurely. Unfortunately this will be the case until an announcement is made.

With that said, it has been suggested to myself that any airline would be wise to make an announcement by year’s end as with the opening in mid-May they would need all the time they have to ready marketing materials/plans to fully mobilize in a new market. I think we’ll hear something very soon.


36 anonymous November 7, 2009 at 12:46 pm

You people complain WAY too much. It’s just an airport, and it’s just a name. Why let something so minute bother you the way you all get carried away with the negativity??


37 gz December 30, 2009 at 10:44 pm

Airport identifiers can and have changed. JFK is one I know of off the top of my head.