Photo: John Blackie/USA Today Network
Matt Coughlin, Director, Pensacola International Airport
Economic Backbone: Transportation
Northwest Florida's four major airports all had record traffic in 2021
Pensacola International Airport
2021 PASSENGERS: 2,324,044
Total passenger counts during 2021 exceeded 2019’s record-setting numbers by nearly 90,000.
Airport Director Matt Coughlin attributes much of the growth to a jump in tourism brought on, in large part, by the airlines marketing Pensacola.
In addition to Pensacola’s record passenger numbers, the airport is tied with Newark Liberty International for having the lowest average passenger fares — 30% below the national average, Coughlin says.
Tallahassee International Airport
2021 PASSENGERS: 656,192
Construction is underway on a $28-million international passenger processing facility that will provide a passenger port-of-entry and a federal inspection station for the airport along with other improvements to accommodate international flights. Mayor John Dailey described the project as a “game changer” that could bring about international cargo shipping.
Destin Fort Walton Beach Airport
2021 PASSENGERS: 1,998,587
The airport reported a 20% increase in passengers during 2021 compared to 2019’s record total of 1,673,226. The airport's airlines include Allegiant, American, Delta and Southwest, which provide nonstop flights to Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Denver and Washington, D.C.
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport
2021 PASSENGERS: 1,598,492
Panama City’s airport saw a 33% passenger growth spurt in 2021 from the year before. As with other Northwest Florida airports, tourism was the biggest factor in the record-breaking numbers. The airport continues to add carriers and passenger capacity and is serviced by American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines and United Airlines.