Northwest Florida Regional Airport traffic down last year

Sunil Harman

Sunil Harman

Published: Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 05:10 PM.


Air travel in and out of Northwest Florida Regional Airport was down slightly last year, but Okaloosa County Airports Director Sunil Harman said it is still doing very well.

Northwest Florida Regional had 744,489 enplanements and deplanements in 2013, a 4 percent decrease from 2012. Harman attributed the drop to changing market conditions.

Northwest Florida Regional had a record-breaking year in 2011 when passenger counts climbed to more than 900,000 for the fiscal year. However, most of that increase was attributed to Vision Airlines temporarily entering the market and offering direct flights to nearly two dozen cities.

Despite the traffic decline, Harman said the airport was doing well and that revenues were holding steady. It recently secured a loan to refinance nearly $11 million in old debt at a much lower interest rate. That will save about $100,000 a year in debt service payments and $1.6 million over the 15-year life of the loan.

The airport also has some projects in the works to increase revenues.

A request for proposals has been issued for a new shoeshine business that could include massage chairs and barber services. There also has been talk of bringing in an upscale Caribbean cigar shop and partnering with local dealerships to have cars and boats displayed in the terminal.

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