Pre-Opening Airport Visit: PHOTOS

by May 15, 2010 • 15 comments

It’s been over a month since we’ve visited the new airport site and boy has it come a long way; no more construction trailers, no more hard hats,  just gorgeous grass and colorful landscaping all around what can be considered Panama City Beach’s newest and best attraction.

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The place was as about as close to completion as could be; the parking lot was fully marked, the bridge completed and ready to pave the way for vacationers to experience the world’s most beautiful beaches. The airport’s interior is amazing; loads of Florida sunlight flooding through large windows and skylights, gleaming tile floors and hi-quality appointments all over the place. One of the most noticeable features, you’ll find, is the Southwest Airlines counter. Colorful and fun, it really sets the tone for the whole experience. The downstairs area includes a sophisticated baggage security system, wide areas for walking a nice kitchen area where you can grab a bite to eat and more. Take the escalator upstairs and you are greeted by more sunlight bursting through big windows. It’s new, its vibrant and architecturally built for housing large groups of people comfortably.

There are a couple of concession areas that will be serving all sorts of great dishes. The gates are nice and expansive with cozy-looking chairs for those awaiting takeoff. Lori Bates, the airport’s interior designer, made sure the place was nicely appointed from top to bottom, including huge administrative offices with hi-tech equipment throughout. There is even a military welcome center so when our troops are coming home, leaving or awaiting transfers they can relax with food and drinks provided by the Veteran’s Council.

The only portion of the airport yet to be nearing completion was General Aviation. All General Aviation services will be held at the old airport site until the facilities are completed in June.

Planes land and take off May 23. Hope you’re ready!

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1 Tino Valenti May 15, 2010 at 11:20 am

Who is going to pay the $Millions in DEP fines? How will Southwest planes land after a rain fall with all the stagnant water?? Many questions remain unanswered.


2 Robert Stevens May 15, 2010 at 2:42 pm

all those negative vibes! I think right now there is more to be concerned about with an oily beach than stagnant water!


3 jw May 15, 2010 at 9:30 pm

Thank you for your updates! Nothing could be finer! Looking forward to Southwest & Delta scheduled flights!


4 Michele May 16, 2010 at 12:54 pm

What other airlines will be flying into the new airport? Is Southwest the only one so far?


5 jobeibi May 19, 2010 at 10:29 pm

Delta will still be flying to the new airport.


6 jw May 16, 2010 at 10:33 pm

I have reservations for flight & car rental for opening week….but I was looking to book again in June & July, the car rental companies are over board on their rate increase. Can’t book another time at the beach with that kind of rate increase for a car rental, too bad.


7 jamnolfin May 17, 2010 at 11:15 pm

JW. Why dont you look into getting a cab to edgewater, theres a Enterprise there that has good rates. Join their email club and they send you all kinds of discounts. Theres more than one car rental around here.


8 Jerry Eyler May 17, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Will you guys be at the airport Sunday morning for the first flight arrivals?


9 carol May 18, 2010 at 7:42 am

Some people would have negative remarks if they won a million dollars. Every one should be thankful for what this airport brings to our area. Get a life!!


10 Joyce May 18, 2010 at 7:46 am



11 Alysan May 18, 2010 at 9:18 am

Now who do we think is going to fly in and out of this airport? The Europeans?
What do we have to BRING them here, now that they can get here easily? The answer is nothing, aside from the beach. We have no attractions that provide a draw. I’m sorry but people from the UK are not going to fly here for Ripley’s Museum and Shipwreck Island, or Gulf World. Not with Disney, Miami, the Keys and Universal just south.
I hope it’s a sucess, we sure could use it. But I just don’t see it being ‘The Solution’, only a doorway to one.


12 Sales Team May 18, 2010 at 9:35 am

WOW its hard to believe but Grand Opening is just days away. . . . Thanks PCBdaily for all the “insider- up close and personal” updates and photos you’ve provided through the whole construction process—GREAT job!


13 Tony May May 18, 2010 at 11:01 am

For a PCB condo owner in Michigan who usually flies into the region, this is very exciting! We have already noticed the Southwest affect with more competitive Delta fares from DTW. The only wish remaining would be non-stop service from up here. With Delta we have to connect in Memphis or Atlanta and Southwest requires a Nashville connection for best service. We look forward to returning after Labor Day when the summer crowds have subsided and rates get even better. Our Michigan summers are too fabulous to battle the masses at the gulf beaches in June and July.


14 Nancy May 22, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Good luck on direct flights from there. We’re still waiting here in San Antonio to have that service and San Antonio International has been existing for years with the “international’ title. We have convention center facilities, the Alamodome and multi-functional facilities all over the place and still, conventions that are ones that are the caliber that come in LA, Vegas, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, NY and Mouseville have no-direct connections from a lot of the locations to here. I’ll be specific, Kraft has a huge conference each year. We were granted the conference one year, which was done at the Henry B Gonzales Convention Center (over 1 million square footage not counting the huge Hyatt which is next door associated with the center, the Rivercenter Marriott within a block of the facility and other major hotel chains – and of course The River Walk right there @ the Convention Center. Still Kraft discovered that there was a lot of logistic issues with having the convention/conference here with all that San Antonio has to offer. So, Kraft – and other organizations – still bypass San Antonio for the bigger conferences and conventions based solely on the logistic aspect. (I used to work in the tradeshow construction venue and know someone whose family member was an officer with Kraft. I asked how the conference was for the Kraft employee… and if there were any suggestions that I could pass on to my employer to make any improvements. Logistics was it. Everything else was perfect: Lots of things to do in the city, Lots of restaurants, and the center was great. Just getting to here and from here… and for most, no direct flights without having lay-overs in Houston, Dallas or elsewhere.
So, welcome to the world of logistics.
My best friend took a vacation to Minneapolis/St Paul to visit her daughter and grandchildren. Layovers on the way up and really crazy layovers on the way back (multiple) and connections so crazy that she being disabled were advised she’d have to walk miles to get to her embarking terminal. She had requested a wheelchair (not given) when she made the reservations way in advance. No wheelchair in site on her return from M/StPaul . And they even changed the carrier @ the last minute, sending her cross terminal without assistance to help with her luggage which she had to handle. Of course, refunds were given, credits offered. Never again would she fly with the same carrier (a Major) and probably not fly at all…
Like someone said, to bring in folks, you’ve got to offer them more than one reason and give them a way to get there direct from point A to point B without layovers in C, D, or E. Don’t think that “If you offer, they will come.” Remember logistics. Companies and conferences choose those locations for conventions, etc by what the area has to offer and the facility itself if a convention/conference and LOGISTICS. Kraft employee said they wouldn’t even consider San Antonio again until the Logistics was corrected- which meant, until the carriers decide to utilize San Antonio as a major direct terminal and provide more flights direct to and from.


15 Michael Shovill May 18, 2010 at 10:07 pm

Still haven’t seen much of a decrease in fares. Just booked a flight to Seattle and it cost me $335 from Fort Walton Beach and the fare was $449 from PCB. I’ll keep flying from Fort Walton. Much cheaper parking there too.