Last week the Airport Authority met to discuss a new name for our new airport. Weeks ago, the board had decided upon the name “Northwest Florida Panama City International Airport”… much to the dismay of local tourism industry leaders and government officials. The justification of the name, by the board, consisted of wanting to give Panama City credit for nurturing the new airport project along and ensure travelers to our area knew and understood that they were coming to Panama City.
Panama City is just one part of the equation. Mayor Gayle Oberst said in a letter to the board:
It was with regret that I learned the name that was selected for the newest airport in Florida. I sincerely hope that you will reconsider and choose a name that is truly regional in nature and scope.
This airport is a milestone for all of this area in many ways: the new industry that will grow, the increase in the tourism business, the first time this area including the surrounding counties has worked together to make the airport and the future to happen, and the overall increase in the quality of life for our residents.
I think we can safely say that there are so many other names including those listed in the top five selections under consideration that more represent the nature of what is happening here. What a wonderful opportunity we have and it is a shame not to take advantage of it. Northwest Florida has already been taken by another airport and Panama City denotes such a narrow scope (one city of many).
Once again I would request that you reconsider, think regional, and do what is best for Bay County and our regional partners.
Shortly thereafter, the Bay County Tourist Development Council assembled a resolution and submitted formerly to the Airport Authority Board their suggestion for a new name:
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, unanimously, by the Bay County Tourist Development Council and Board of Directors of the Panama City Beach Convention and Visitors Bureau, Inc. that the Airport Authority is respectfully requested to reconsider the name of the new airport, and again consider naming the airport the “Northwest Florida International Airport.”
There’s still a little twist by the Airport Board…the new, new and hopefully final, name is” Northwest Florida Beach International Airport”. This name really clarifies as to where we are located… Northwest Florida… what we are striving for…. our glorious beaches and the ability to open up the Panhandle to other parts of the world… International. I have heard that the Airport Authority has been in talks with British Airways AND Virgin Atlantic, both of which are looking for new opportunity and bring flights regularly stateside. It will take time for those relationships to develop, but we are off to a great start.