PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport has been breaking records this year with an increase in passengers.
“On a Saturday, there are 100 to 110 commercial flights,” said ECP Executive Director Parker McClellan.
ECP is taking-off to new heights this summer, with more traveling to the panhandle’s white sandy beaches.
“Whether it’s the beaches of South Walton, over into the beaches in gulf county, we have everything,” said McClellan.
May was a record-breaking month for the airport, and the region.
“About 180,000 total passengers as compared to 2019 where we were about 128,000 passengers,” said McClellan.
He has seen many returning travelers as well as newcomers this year, which will only increase.
“There are roughly 60% more seats available in this market than there were in 2019,” said McClellan. “And the airlines are recognizing that. And we are doing everything we can to make sure that the experience they have at the airport is a positive one.”
Judy Walker, a Houstonian, is one of the many landing at ECP.
“I’m vaccinated and ready to go,” said Walker.
Walker travels every Fourth of July to meet her family at the World’s Most Beautiful Beaches. All of her family travels through ECP from all over the country.
“It’s fun, I have three daughters and six granddaughters,” she said.
So far she has had a great travel experience, and has been luck when it comes to missing lines at airports.
“I breezed through TSA but the rest of the line was like a block long,” said Walker.
But McClellan encourages all to pack a little extra during the holidays.
“Pack your patience, during the holidays, and this holiday is going to be no different,” said McClellan.
The rest of this summer will not be any different. McClellan is expecting numbers to keep rising.