ECP officials set airport’s sights sky-high as demand grows

The Florida Panhandle continues to grow, and to meet that demand, the local airport is working to keep up.
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 6:45 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Multiple projects are taking off at Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport.

Airport officials discussed them at their monthly board meeting Wednesday morning.

“We’ve got several construction projects underway that are in the permitting phase right now,” said Parker McClellan, executive director of ECP.

That includes an estimated $3.5 million north terminal build-out project and an estimated $8 million bag-room development project. However, they’re additional projects in the pipeline. McClellan said “the overflow parking, the expansion of the long-term lot, and the expansion of the employee lot” are also in the works.

Airport officials said these projects will give ECP a competitive edge.

“Well in 2023, we anticipate that over the last two years, you’ve heard me [say] that the Panhandle’s been discovered,” McClellan said. “I think we’re going to continue to see return visitors.”

Airport officials reported around 1.5 million passengers went through ECP in 2022. That figure translates to roughly 4,200 people a day.

ECP leaders are also heavily focused on the flow of traffic to and from the airport. The roundabout project at the airport entrance is showing progression.

“What we’re being told by the State, and their consultants, and their construction company is that on February 6, East and West-bound traffic will all flow through the roundabout,” McClellan said.

The project has gone on for years.

“It’s time to move on,” McClellan said. “It’s time for us to be finished with the project and see what the final results look like.”

A completion date isn’t set in stone yet.

ECP officials said they had nearly 1.6 million passengers in 2021. The following year decreased by a little under five percent.