Passenger airline confirms plans to serve Destin Airport

Published: Friday, May 17, 2013 at 03:26 PM.

“I had hoped to get it last week,” Stenson added.

Stenson said it was his understanding the airline would not be able to start flying until the County Commission approved the sublease. The next commission meeting is scheduled for May 21, but the deadline for county departments to submit agenda items for the meeting is Wednesday.

However, Stenson said the service — which would be Destin Airport’s first scheduled carrier — would be good for the airport.

“It increases fuel sales into the airport,” Stenson said. “It gives people a new way to get down here, a few more heads in beds per day. It’s good for the community and it’s not something that would be overwhelming as far as additional flights.”

Parker McClellan, executive director of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport in Panama City Beach, said Southern Airways Express will operate completely through Sheltair, the airport’s fixed-based operator. Security screenings will be done through Sheltair.

Dan Rowe, director of the Bay County Tourist Development Council, said although Southern Airways Express won’t replace major carriers such as Southwest and Delta, it will provide more options.

“It’s always good when we have additional air carriers coming into the marketplace to provide access for visitors to get to Panama City Beach,” Rowe said. “Their concentration, flying the small community aircraft, you can skip having to go through the terminal, ticketing and having to be at the airport well over an hour in advance. It’s a type of service I think a lot of people will find attractive.”

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