18 miles northwest of Florida building code 2014 pdf City, in Bay County. Panama City Beach, Florida, near West Bay. The airport opened for commercial flights on May 23, 2010 and is the first international airport in the United States designed and built since the September 11 attacks. The airport was to have been called Northwest Florida-Panama City International Airport, but the airlines asked the airport authority to change to a more regional name.
Proposed ideas included using the current airport property and extending the current short runways into St. Andrews Bay or into residential neighborhoods, relocation of the airport to a new site, or collocation with Tyndall AFB. With strong opposition to extending the runways into an environmentally sensitive bay or into neighborhoods, the airport authority began to search for relocation sites.
The authority received tentative approval to relocate the airport to northwestern Bay County in 2001. 2007 the authority obtained the needed permits. The relocation of the airport was controversial in Bay County. The county commission chose to proceed with building a new airport and closing down Fannin Field despite a majority of voters in a non-binding 2004 referendum voting against the plan.
Some felt that the St. Joe Company, which owned the land the airport would be based on, would derive an unfair benefit at the taxpayer’s expense. Suits were filed against the airport on environmental grounds but were not successful in halting its construction.
Construction was completed in May 2010, however the planned crosswind runway was not built. This controversy continues as of January 2015. The airport’s IATA code was originally supposed to be TFB, for “The Florida Beaches”.