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ECP Passenger Numbers Almost Triple Last Year’s

The first full month of operations at the new Northwest Florida Beaches International (ECP) airport was nearly triple the number of passengers last year, airport officials say.

Last June, the now-closed Panama City-Bay County International (PFN) had 28,268 passengers go through; this June, there were 83,181 at the new airport, which replaced PFN and opened May 23 with new service from Southwest Airlines and additional service from Delta Air Lines.

“Passenger traffic for our first full month far exceeded our expectations,” says Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis. “These are strong results that we hope to continue to build upon.”
     
The daily average number of available seats in July is also up from last year, from about 508 to 1,837. Curtis says PFN was “at the bottom of the list of Florida airports” last year.

And the number of scheduled, non-stop flights is on the rise, too. Atlanta, Ga., and Memphis, Tenn., were the only destinations last year; now, “single plane” service goes to those two cities, as well as Baltimore, Md.; Chicago, Ill.; Dallas/Fort Worth and Houston, Texas; Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; and Providence, R.I., with most of it on narrow-body 737s and MD88s.

“And with the addition of Southwest Airlines, we have seen a significant reduction in airfares to levels we have not experienced in many years,” Curtis says.
 
ECP is the first commercial-service international airport built in the U.S. in the past 15 years. The new $318M airport and its 10,000-foot runway are built on approximately 1,300 acres of a 4,000-acre site. The 125,000-square-foot passenger terminal features seven gates, two restaurants, two retail shops and five car rental ticketing counters.

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