October 21, 2009
Southwest Airlines Coming to New Northwest Florida - Panama City International Airport
Florida Freedom News
WEST BAY — Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly officially announced Wednesday the low-cost carrier will come to the new Northwest Florida-Panama City International Airport when it opens in May.
Kelly’s announcement came shortly after 1 p.m. Wednesday live via “streaming video” as part of Southwest’s media day from Dallas, about 15 minutes after the start of the a Panama City briefing attended by local business leaders and government officials.
The local leaders were meeting at the airport for the expressed purpose of hearing an update on construction progress and airline marketing efforts, but Southwest’s announcement had been anticipated.
The new airport is set to open in May, and Kelly’s confirmation answers one of several questions still remaining, such as whether a low-cost carrier like Southwest Airlines is coming to the West Bay location.
Officials and business leaders in Pensacola, Okaloosa County and Panama City have been courting the coveted carrier for months, citing lower fares that can bring in more tourists and businesses.
“The Panhandle has so much to recommend it,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. and a leading advocate of the new airport serving the region. “I know that as more and more people and businesses learn about the area, we’ll attract even more jobs and opportunities.”
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