By Brittany Kirke
It’s been a year since the pandemic spread across the globe, and our bubble on the beach has remained a light in the lives of those who live here and come to visit. With this in mind, Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) has crafted a plan to facilitate a smooth transition into this new Covid-19 world. They have readily adapted their everyday routines to prepare and practice safety measures for all patrons and employees. As spring break ends and summer begins, here is what life looks like at our local airport.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, ECP Executive Director Parker W. McClellan Jr., A.A.E., and the ECP Team have taken measures and remain committed to the health and safety for passengers and staff. ECP, along with the tenants in the Airport and their airline partners, are working each day to ensure the safety and security of their passengers and team. The ECP Ready Program outlines these measures.
Key items to note are:
– Masks required. ECP and its airline partners require masks throughout the terminal, at the gate and aboard the aircraft.
– Enhanced facility cleaning. Additional staffing to increase frequency of sanitization.
– Additional equipment and cutting-edge cleaning supplies. Hand sanitizer units have been installed throughout the terminal.
– Measures to promote social distancing. Social distancing markers have been placed throughout the Terminal to encourage passengers to remain six feet apart when possible.
For travel updates and more information on their ECP Ready Program, visit iflybeaches.com.
Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport serves passengers throughout the Northwest Florida Region. For Panama City Beach residents, ECP is only a hop, skip, and a jump away. So, what do all these improvements mean for our beloved beaches? Scheduled flights in March were comparable to typical July numbers at ECP. On a Saturday in March, ECP welcomed more than 80 commercial flights. We can expect to see steady and increased traffic from now until early in the Fall. Mr. McClellan stated that they have seen “all sorts of growth through our community and region” and is proud to offer a variety of diverse destinations at the Airport for the Northwest Florida Region.
“As our Airport grows increasingly popular, we gain opportunities to expand our flight options,” said McClellan. “Our facilities and staff continue our dedication to providing a premier flying experience and will adapt to our growth as they do every year.”
Currently, there are four main airlines that operate at ECP: American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Southwest Airlines, and United Airlines.
ECP’s airline partners are excited to offer new and returning services this spring and summer.
This spring, American Airlines will begin nonstop service to Philadelphia (PHL) while passenger favorites including Austin (AUS), Baltimore (BWI), Chicago (ORD/MDW), Denver (DEN), and St. Louis (STL) will be returning.
There will also be increased frequency for the following flights: Atlanta (ATL), Charlotte (CLT, Dallas (DFW/DAL), Houston (IAH/HOU) and Nashville (BNA).
Although the hope has always been that this airport will grow to be an international hub, there are, as of yet, no direct international flights incoming or outbound. When asked about this, Mr. McClellan noted that the airlines determine the flight destinations offered at ECP, but they look forward to accommodating this growth.
To learn more about ECP New and Returning Seasonal Services, please visit iflybeaches.com.