Well the ink was not dry on the original name of Northwest Florida Panama City International Airport. Apparently no one liked the name…so they went back to the drawing board and tried again. This time the new new name…and hopefully this time it will have a longer shelf life…is the Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport. The new name was decided upon today and there is still same skepticism as to whether the name will stick.
The original name was met with a flurry of opposition including Mayor Gayle Oberst who said in a letter to the Bay County Tourist Development Council:
It was with regret that I learned the name that was selected for the newest airport in Florida. I sincerely hope that you will reconsider and choose a name that is truly regional in nature and scope.
This airport is a milestone for all of this area in many ways: the new industry that will grow, the increase in the tourism business, the first time this area including the surrounding counties has worked together to make the airport and the future to happen, and the overall increase in the quality of life for our residents.
I think we can safely say that there are so many other names including those listed in the top five selections under consideration that more represent the nature of what is happening here. What a wonderful opportunity we have and it is a shame not to take advantage of it. Northwest Florida has already been taken by another airport and Panama City denotes such a narrow scope (one city of many).
Once again I would request that you reconsider, think regional, and do what is best for Bay County and our regional partners.
So far the new name of Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport has been met with mixed reviews. I think we all agree that the Emerald Coast International Airport was the best choice, however, due to legal issues we were not able to use this name. I do like the fact that the word “Beaches” will force people to recognize our beaches every time they hear the name. Personally for me coming from the west coast I never heard nor knew about the beaches in Northwest Florida. Having an airport with the name would at least stick in my mind and think that there must be some amazing beaches here to get a name like that.
The Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport opens in May 2010. Let’s see if this new name can make it to the grand opening!