Local airport sees significant drop off in passenger numbers

Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Bay County is seeing an almost 75 percent drop off in passengers. (WJHG/WECP)

BAY COUNTY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Bay County is seeing an almost 75 percent drop off in passengers than normal, as well as many flight cancellations from around the country.

Parker McClellan, the executive director for the airport said, "We see daily cancellations. It varies as per the airline as to their schedule and things like that. Anytime we ask that if you're supposed to fly, check with your airline to make sure your flight is on schedule."

Despite the fewer passengers and flights, officials want locals to know the airport is still open for business.

"Our intent is to make sure the airport is up and operational all the time. General aviation is still operating at Sheltair. Just because the commercial activity may be a little bit slower, we're still an airport, we're still going to operate, and we're still a vital member of the community," said McClellan.

He says while the airport is emptier than usual, they're taking the time to deep clean as well as adding extra janitorial staff during peak times.

"They're going through the airport continually, wiping down high touch surfaces, door handles things like that,” said McClellan.

The airport is also providing relief to airlines and rental car companies by looking into altering contracts or deferring payments.

"When we recover, not if, when we recover our partners are still ready... and ready to get things going back here in Panama City," said McClellan.

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