More travelers expected at Northwest Florida Beaches International this summer

PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. (WJHG) - Traveling to cities like Chicago and Austin from Bay County is about to get easier.

More planes will take off from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport this summer.

Starting Saturdays in June, Southwest Airlines will offer non-stop service to Austin and Chicago.

"We anticipate that both Chicago and Austin are going to be very successful markets for this community,” Airport Executive Director Parker McClellan explained.

That's on top of flights already going to St. Louis, Nashville, Baltimore, and Dallas.

"We're going to have nearly 6,000 people going through the terminal everyday. That's a 21 percent increase over last year," McClellan explained. "We're excited about what we're calling 'Super Summer Saturdays' because there's going to be a lot of people, a lot of excitement, and a lot of energy coming to our community."

McClellan said if it turns out to be a successful summer, he hopes to add a couple new flights next year.