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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Florida Airport Gets ID

By Ramon Lopez/Editor, AT’s Daily Brief

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assigned a new three-letter identifier to the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport now under construction in Panana City, FL. The three-letter identifier will be “ECP” when the airport opens in May. The new airport is replacing Panama City-Bay County International (PFN).

“The FAA’s awarding of our new location identifier is another important step in our process to open Northwest Florida Beaches International,” said Airport Authority Chairman Joe Tannehill. Construction of the new airport is 80 percent complete and on track for the planned opening date of May 23, he added.

Late last year, local airport officials said they had received all the necessary approvals and permits to move forward on the extension of the primary runway at the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers both signed off on the 1,600 foot extension, which will bring the length of the primary runway to 10,000 feet.

Work on the runway extension began immediately and was not expected to impact the construction schedule. The extension was expected to be completed in time for a runway certification test flight by the FAA in mid-January.

“Our goal has always been to build an airport to support economic development and growth throughout the region for years to come,” said Tannehill. “The longer runway puts us in a position to compete with anyone in the country for better air service and aviation related industries.”

“This is truly a major milestone for the airport project,” said Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis. “With a 10,000 foot runway, we can handle almost any type of aircraft operations with no problem.”

Ramon Lopez also serves as editor-in-chief of Air Safety Week; he has been covering air safety for more than three decades (rlopez@accessintel.com).


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