Panama City–Bay County International Airport
Panama City–Bay County International Airport
|Owner||Panama City–Bay County Airport and Industrial District|
|Serves||Panama City, Florida|
|Elevation AMSL||20 ft / 6 m|
Panama City–Bay County International Airport (IATA:
ECP, ICAO: KPFN, FAA LID: PFN) was a public airport three miles northwest of Panama City, in Bay County, Florida. It was owned and operated by the Panama City–Bay County Airport and Industrial District. All airline services moved to the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport on May 22, 2010, but the airfield was open to general aviation aircraft until October 1, 2010. The grounds will eventually be turned over to LUK-MB1 LLC, which plans to remove the runways and build homes, shops, walking trails and a marina.
Panama City–Bay County International Airport (PFN) began as a private field owned by J.B. Atkinson, Jr., a citizen of Panama City. The facility had 292 acres (1.2 km²) of land with grass landing strips. In 1932 Atkinson and his wife donated the property to the Panama City Chamber of Commerce so a city airport could be established. At that time the airport was named Atkinson Field. In 1938 Panama City and the Bay County Commissioners joined forces to develop the airport through the construction of an airport terminal and extensive airfield expansion. The facility's $604,000 development project included the construction of a small passenger terminal and two 4,000-foot (1,200 m) intersecting runways. After the expansion was completed, the airport was renamed Fannin Field in honor of Panama City's then-mayor, Harry G. Fannin.
Through World War II the airport was a Civil Air Patrol facility, the location of Coastal Patrol Base 14. In 1943 the Florida legislature approved the formation of an airport authority, the Panama City–Bay County Airport and Industrial District, to manage Fannin Field, or Panama City–Bay County Airport, as it became known. In 1948 commercial scheduled passenger airline operations began.
In 1992 the airport was equipped with on-call customs and immigrations facilities provided through the Port of Panama City and was designated as an international airport and renamed Panama City–Bay County International Airport. The airport was declared a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), allowing special customs procedures. These permit domestic activity involving foreign items to take place as though they were outside of U.S. Customs territory.
In 1995 the airport went through extensive development, demolishing the old terminal building and building a new 55,573-square-foot (5,162.9 m2) facility with six gates, two with jetbridges. The terminal had concession areas, a passenger hold room, ticketing counters and airline office space, airport administration offices, public and rental car parking lots, and a larger apron. Service included Delta Connection to Atlanta, US Airways Express to Charlotte (and other destinations initially in Florida) and Northwest Airlink to Memphis.
However, by the late 1990s, it was obvious that the airport was nearing the end of its useful life. The runways were very short by modern standards, but could not be expanded without either extending them into nearby St. Andrews Bay or residential neighborhoods. It was eventually decided to build a new airport in Panama City Beach, which eventually became Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The new airport opened May 23, 2010 with flights operated by Delta Air Lines with mainline jet aircraft nonstops to Atlanta, with this Delta service moving from the old airport to the new airport, and new service flown by Southwest Airlines with Boeing 737 jetliners.
Past airline service
From the 1950s until the late 1970s, two airlines served Panama City: National Airlines and Southern Airways. In the early 1950s National Lockheed Lodestars flew to Jacksonville and New Orleans via various stops. Southern began service in the mid 1950s with Douglas DC-3s to Atlanta via several stops. In 1967 National Lockheed L-188 Electras flew direct to Miami, New Orleans, Orlando, Jacksonville, Mobile and Key West and nonstop to Pensacola and Tallahassee. The first jets were Southern Douglas DC-9-10s in 1967. In 1968, Southern DC-9s flew direct to Atlanta via Dothan, AL, and their Martin 4-0-4s flew nonstop to Atlanta, Dothan and Fort Walton Beach (via Eglin AFB), and direct to Birmingham, Montgomery and New Orleans. In 1969 National Boeing 727-100s flew direct to Miami, Tampa, New Orleans, Houston, Mobile, Jacksonville and Melbourne, FL and nonstop to Pensacola and Tallahassee.
By 1976 all National and Southern flights to the airport were jet. National Boeing 727-200s flew direct from New York JFK Airport, Washington D.C. National Airport (now Reagan Airport), Las Vegas, San Francisco, Houston, New Orleans, Miami, Charleston, Norfolk, Jacksonville and Mobile and nonstop from Tampa, Tallahassee and Pensacola. Southern Douglas DC-9-10s and McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s flew nonstop from Atlanta, Dothan, Eglin AFB and Tallahassee and direct from Miami and Orlando. In 1977 South Central Air Transport (SCAT), a commuter airline, was flying to New Orleans, Montgomery, Mobile and Fort Walton Beach (via Eglin AFB) flown with Handley Page Jetstreams.
National Airlines was no longer serving Panama City by 1979. Southern Airways had merged with North Central Airlines to form Republic Airlines which flew nonstop DC-9-10, DC-9-30 and DC-9-50 jets to Atlanta, Orlando and Tallahassee and direct to Chicago O'Hare Airport, Memphis, Huntsville and Miami. Air Florida, a new start-up airline, was serving Panama City as well with Boeing 737-200s and Douglas DC-9-10s nonstop to Pensacola and Tallahassee and direct to Tampa and Miami.
Air New Orleans (Continental Express for Continental Airlines) was flying Beechcraft C99s nonstop to Orlando and Tampa and direct to New Orleans in 1987. Air New Orleans was initially based in Panama City.
By 1991 Delta Air Lines McDonnell Douglas DC-9-30s flew nonstop to Atlanta. In 1989 Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) de Havilland Canada DHC-7 Dash 7s and Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias flew nonstop to Atlanta as Delta Connection for Delta and this continued with Delta's jet service.
In 1994 Delta Air Lines Boeing 737-200s and McDonnell Douglas MD-80s flew nonstop to Atlanta and direct to Dallas/Fort Worth, Louisville and Norfolk; Delta then had the only "main line" jets at Panama City. Atlantic Southeast Airlines (ASA) was continuing to fly nonstop from Atlanta with Embraer EMB-120 Brasilias. Northwest Airlink was flying nonstop from Memphis with Saab 340s for Northwest Airlines. US Airways Express Beechcraft 1900Cs were serving the airport for US Airways nonstop from Orlando, Tampa and Fort Walton Beach.
In 2007 Delta Connection Canadair CRJ-200s, CRJ-700s and Embraer ERJ-145s and ATR 72s were flying nonstop to Atlanta. Delta Connection Embraer ERJ-145s flew nonstop to Orlando, their Canadair CRJs flew nonstop to Cincinnati Saturday only, and Northwest Airlink Canadair CRJ flew nonstop to Memphis.
Several commuter airlines served the airport over the years including Dolphin Airlines, Mackey International Airlines, Scheduled Skyways and Sun Air.
Panama City–Bay County International Airport covered 745 acres (301 ha) at an elevation of 20 feet (6 m). It had two asphalt runways: 14/32 was 6,308 x 150 ft (1,923 x 46 m) and 5/23 was 4,884 x 150 ft (1,489 x 46 m).
In 2006 the airport had 88,059 aircraft operations, average 241 per day: 72% general aviation, 13% air taxi (11,080), 10% military and 5% airline. 160 aircraft were then based at the airport: 58% single-engine, 18% multi-engine, 9% jet and 15% helicopter.
- FAA Airport Master Record for ECP ( PDF), effective 2008-04-10
- Owens, Sarah "Old airport's closing is ‘bittersweet'" (May 22, 2010) The Walton Sun
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Dec. 1952 National timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Sept. 1, 1956 Southern timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, April 30, 1967 National timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, Sept. 3, 1968 Southern timetable
- http://www.timetableimages.com, July 15, 1969 National timetable
- Feb. 1, 1976 Official Airline Guide (OAG) North American edition
- http://www.timetableimages.com, May 15, 1977 South Central Air Transport timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, May 1, 1979 National Airlines route map
- http://www.departedflights.com, July 1, 1979 Republic timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, April 1, 1981 Official Airline Guide
- http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 1, 1979 Air Florida timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide
- http://www.departedflights.com, Feb, 15, 1985 & Dec. 15, 1989 editions, Official Airline Guide
- http://www.departedflights.com, Sept. 9, 1987 Northwest timetable
- http://www.departedflights.com, Feb. 1, 1987 Continental timetable
- http://www/departedflights.com, Oct. 1, 1991 Official Airline Guide
- http://www.departedflights.com, Dec. 15, 1989 Official Airline Guide
- Sept. 15, 1994 Official Airline Guide, North American edition
- Feb. 2007 OAG Flight Guide, Worldwide Edition
- Panama City–Bay County International Airport relocation project
- Panama City–Bay County International Airport (KPFN), FAA information effective July 29, 2010, published by AirNav
- Aeronautical chart from SkyVector
- History of Airline Service at Panama City-Bay County Airport Pictorial history by Sunshine Skies
- Abandoned & Little Known Airfields Published by Paul Freeman