Improving Local Air Service

The Panama City-Bay County International Airport Board took steps towards improving the level of service for its customers Tuesday.

The airport board is trying to give its customers more flights and make it cheaper to fly out of Panama City. Tuesday the board approved an agreement with an airline marketing consultant to expand the scope of air services.

S H & E will compare Panama City to similar markets in other cities and attempt to bring in more flights, lower the cost of tickets and assess potential new markets. According to the board, airports all over the country are struggling and even low cost carriers are feeling the strains of issues such as rising fuel costs.

Board member Jimmy Patronis, Jr. says he hopes these new marketing strategies will make it cheaper and easier to fly out of Panama City.

"The industry is in turmoil, bankruptcy's afoot and we're trying to go out and salvage the best we can for our community. The district has some resources we've committed to go out and secure relationships with airlines make sure we have to always stay in front of them.

“We always have to be out there promoting ourselves and S H & E will be able to assist us in hopefully reminding the airline industry what Panama City and the Bay County general catch basin has to offer."

The board hopes this move will provide a solid database that will help them improve the level of service to support the market here. The cost of these various tasks is expected to be no more than $134,000.