Airport Officials Say Summer 2015 is Busiest Travel Season

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PANAMA CITY-- Whether it's planes, trains, or automobiles, many say summer is a great time to travel.

Experts predict this summer airline travel season will be the busiest in quite some time.

Before the summer started, Airlines for America predicted this summer season to be the busiest travel season since 2007.

With a spike of just less than ten percent in travelers and doubling their airline fleet, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport officials and travelers say that's certainly been the case for Panama City.

The summer airline travel season has taken off at the airport, with passengers flying from all over to the Panhandle saying with cheaper air fares, they're getting a good bang for their buck.

"It was cheaper than the last time I flew down," said John Baumer. "Probably $75 cheaper I would say."

Before the summer season, airport Executive Director Parker McClellan says the airport added both Silver Airways and United Airlines to the mix, which he says drove up passenger traffic, and offered more destinations for travelers.

"The connections to Orlando and Tampa and point south into the Bahamas on Silver Airways, or connecting through Houston's Bush Intercontinental Airport, and connecting to 176 additional cities around the world," said McClellan. "Those are all big things for us."

McClellan says during the months of January and February, the airport would usually have an average of six flights a day. During the summertime, he says the airport averages about 26 flights on Saturdays alone.

With the summer season rolling along, Baumer says cheaper air fares will help keep the wheels up, especially in Panama City.

"The fares were lower this summer, and I expect them to stay there with gas prices kind of staying about the same," said Baumer. "I'd encourage people to try it."

McClellan says not only did the airport add both Silver Airways and United Airlines, but Delta and Southwest also added more flights in March.