Airline Competition Heating Up

Competition between the area's two big airports is heating up again.
Northwest Florida Regional Airport in Okaloosa County is again targeting passengers from across the Florida Panhandle with advertising.
But, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport officials in Bay County said they are not worried.
The Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport attracts travelers who live within a two hour drive of the airport.
"The airport makes up 24% of the traveling market of air travel,” said Executive Director Parker McClellan. “We're doing very well."
That is up from 9% in 2010, that increase came at the expense of the airports in Tallahassee, Pensacola, Dothan and Northwest Florida Regional Airport.
Since Northwest Florida Regional is the closest competition for beaches international, the two airports go after many of the same passengers, and Northwest Florida Regional Advertises regularly.
But, McClellan admitted that any growth in the Florida Panhandle is a positive.
"We really want to focus on getting new carriers in here, which will hopefully influence our 24%. But, more importantly traffic in the panhandle," McClellan said.
Beaches International also advertises; there are TV campaigns on local news and in magazines and the Bay and Walton County Tourist Development Councils have also committed money to advertise Beaches Airport International.
Southwest Airlines cancelled its two daily flights to Orlando late last year, McClellan said the impact was minor, but the airport is working with southwest to open other Florida markets.
"Central and South Florida being on the areas we recognize as a need to go there and we're working towards that," said McClellan.