Business is Booming at Calhoun County Airport

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It's only been two months since Calhoun County airport officials cut the ribbon on their new paved runway.... and business is good!

The 3,100 foot landing strip can accommodate larger airplanes not to mention its close proximity to the surrounding counties.

Airport officials estimate half of their business is coming out of Bay County.

Business is booming at the Calhoun County airport.

"It's exceeded my expectations," says Calhoun County Industrial Development Authority Chairman Maxie Waldorff.

Even though there were only a few planes flying through the air Tuesday, he says all 36 of their T-hangars are full.

"We're kind of in a place, distance from Panama City Dothan, Tallahassee, kind of a midway point. They can keep their planes here without much traffic."

Waldorff estimates roughly half of their business is coming out of Bay County.

"An hour and ten minute drive to me is not bad for what I'm getting up here," says Panama City Pilot Bill Fusselman.

That's part of what drew him to avoid the new airport.

He says his hangar is large enough for him to even park his car inside.

"The cost of being over there were just double approximately of what I'm paying here for this beautiful hangar for my plane, this airport has a nice 'homey' feel, you can walk around it, you can talk to people."

The 3,100 foot runway is a tremendous upgrade for Calhoun County which operated with a dirt runway for 50 years.

"The timing just couldn't be better as far as what's going on with the Bay County airport, it's just perfect timing and we're happy to fill in that gap," says Kristy Terry, Executive Director of the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce.

County leaders are hoping it will create a domino effect for bringing industrial businesses and employment to the area.

"It makes us competitive with other areas as far as economic development, it's a good plug for our region.."

Airport officials are already working to extend the runway another 500 feet in addition to adding 12 more T-hangars.

"You never know how many you're going to need."

Airport officials say their ultimate goal is to expand the runway up to 4400 feet.

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