An idea that began in the mid-to-late 90’s will finally come to fruition Saturday as the new $300 million NW Florida Beaches International airport will officially open for business.
The grand opening is just five days away and officials say the best part: it’s on schedule and on budget.
Free tickets are available for the grand opening celebration that will begin Saturday, May 22nd at 9 a.m. The celebration will include food and drink vendors, including tours of the new airport terminal. The airport is built on roughly 1300 acres of a 4,000-acre site, which provides ample room for future expansion. It happens to be the first commercial service international airport built in the United States in the past 15 years.
Southwest and Delta Airlines will offer daily non-stop flights to: Atlanta, Memphis, Orlando, Cincinnati, Houston, Baltimore and Nashville.
A free parking pass can even be downloaded at.www.northwestfloridabeaches.com. Additionally, those interested in attending the festivities can pick up FREE Entrance tickets on Friday, the day before the event, at the following locations:
• Bay County Chamber of Commerce, 235 W. Fifth St., Downtown Panama City
• Panama City Beach Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, 17001 Back Beach Road (US 98), Panama City Beach
• Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce, 309 Richard Jackson Blvd., Panama City Beach
• Mexico Beach CDC, 102 Canal Parkway, Mexico Beach
• Walton County Chamber of Commerce, 63 S. Centre Trail, Santa Rosa Beach
• Beaches of S. Walton. 25777 U.S. 331 South
• Panama City-Bay County International Airport (current Airport)
• 3173 Airport Road, Panama City
9 a.m. Gates Open
9 a.m – 9:45 a.m. Merrit Brown Middle School Band
9:45 a.m. – 10:55 a.m.—LoCash Cowboys
10:55 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
11:30 a.m. –Grand Opening: Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Charlie Crist will be among the many state dignitaries marking the occasion.
11:45AM.-- Tyndall Flyover
12:20PM – Ribbon Cutting
12:30PM – 1:45PM.— Eric Heatherly
1:55PM.— First Southwest Airlines Flight ETA
1:55PM – 2:20PM – Bay High Band
2:20PM – 3:20PM –Stainless Steel
2:30PM – Second Southwest Airlines Flight ETA
2:30PM – 2:50PM Bay High Band
3PM – 3:55PM—Eric Heatherly
4PM – Gates Close within the hour
Just some of the features of the new airport include:
• Only International Airport in Florida Panhandle
• 10,000 Foot Runway
• Ability to expand to parallel runways of 12,000 and 8,400 feet
• Customs and immigration on call 24/7
• Able to operate without restrictions 24/7
• Free Trade Zone Ready