Grant to be used to expand VPS tarmac

OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) is getting a big makeover.

A $6.2 million grant from the FAA will be used to expand the "west apron" at VPS. (WJHG/WECP)

The tarmac will soon be expanded.

Tuesday, the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners accepted a $6.2 million grant from the FAA. That money will be used to expand the "west apron" at VPS. Officials say it's going to benefit both tourists and locals.

Last year, 1.4 million trips went through VPS, according to county officials. As that number grows, they say the airport should too.

"It's a crucial part of our tourism infrastructure, and the more it grows, the better we do," Okaloosa County Commission Representative Chris Saul said.

The bigger tarmac means more planes will be able to park at the airport overnight, which officials say will allow for more routes in and out of VPS.

"It's important to us because that means that more airplanes are coming in, and of course the more airplanes that are coming in the more passengers there are, and the more passengers there are, the more vacationers we have here in Okaloosa County," Saul said.

In addition, as more flights get added, that will allow VPS to be more competitive with other airports in the panhandle.

"So this will help us bring in more people to Destin-Fort Walton Beach and hopefully stay and vacation in Okaloosa County," Saul said.

Officials say they are currently working with contractors on a timeline.

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