New Northwest Florida Airport Set To Open on Sunday

 - May 20, 2010, 11:32 AM

Northwest Florida Beaches Airport (KECP) near Panama City, Fla., the first new greenfield airport since Denver International in 1995, is on schedule to open on Sunday, say officials. The 4,000-acre field, designed to guarantee no residential development will be built near the airfield itself or within the flight paths, will initially open with just 10,000-foot Runway 16/34. An 8,400-foot parallel runway (16R/34L) and 5,000-foot crosswind Runway 3/21 are in the near-term plans. The new airport will replace the Panama City-Bay County Airport, which is slated to close on July 1. The approximately 140 general aviation aircraft–including about two dozen business jets, turboprops and helicopters–based at Panama City-Bay County are scheduled to migrate to the new airport on June 3, although newly constructed hangars won’t be ready until June 7. The new airport can accommodate up to three FBOs, and two have signed up so far–Sheltair and Regency Air Center. Sheltair plans to be open for business at KECP on Sunday, operating from a temporary facility until its new 5,000-sq-ft FBO terminal and 11,000-sq-ft hangar are completed in the fourth quarter. JMT Development, a company that specializes in the design and construction of general aviation facilities, is behind Regency Air Center. At press time, AIN was unable to get more information from a JMT representative about its FBO.