Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport on pace for record setting year

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport is feeling some growing pains, but leaders say they want to stay ahead of it.

For the first time since it opened in 2010, more than one million passengers will likely have traveled through the airport this year.

Along with the milestone, comes construction projects expected to take place in the next six or seven months.

"All those are great and exciting things. Those are the things when they made the decision ten or 12 years ago to build the airport out here, everybody had that vision," Executive Director Parker McClellan said. "It was a little slow to get going, but look where we are today."

He credits a lot of the growth in August from Southwest extending its season at the airport.

American Airlines will add an extra flight to Dallas and non-stop service to Chicago next summer.

The airport's tarmac will be extended. Work is expected to begin after January.

The airport is also working to update its master plan, which is a tool employees use as a guide for growth moving forward.