EGLIN AFB — The excellent news far outweighed the dangerous this week for Okaloosa County Airports Director Tracy Stage as he balanced the lack of a service with the finalization of a joint-use agreement that extends a facility partnership between the county and Eglin Air Force Base by way of 2061.
“We have solidified the way forward for VPS and our partnership with the Air Force, a partnership that started in 1957,” Stage stated, utilizing the Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport’s three-letter airport code. “The joint use agreement is one thing we have been engaged on for quite a few years, and we’re simply ecstatic to have it accomplished.”
The announcement comes at the same time as United Airlines has notified airport officials that it will cease operations at the airport in March. United has maintained a comparatively small presence at there for years, however determined to chop ties for operational and monetary causes.
The deal between the county and navy to share area on Eglin’s property was accepted Tuesday by the Okaloosa County Commission. It technically will not be finalized till the Air Force’s deputy secretary for installations signs off on it, however that seems to be merely a formality, Stage stated.
“The county and the Air Force are in full agreement,” he stated. “I count on to have a totally executed doc in a matter of days.”
Airport agreement key to progress:VPS sets new record for total passengers. Where are they flying from? What’s the tourism impact?
Stage stated he was hesitant to delve too far into specifics of the agreement for worry regional rivals may gain advantage from the data.
“Our objective was to achieve some flexibility in our peak seasons and never impression the navy missions on the airport,” he stated. “We achieved that by regulating our operations by the hour … as a substitute of our operations being managed each day, they’re now managed hourly.”
The agreement additionally will increase a each day “cap” on industrial flights out and in of the airport, Stage stated.
County Commissioner Carolyn Ketchel, who serves as a liaison between the county and its three airports, referred to as the brand new joint-use agreement, “one of many greatest doc signings I’ve been a part of in my eight years as a county commissioner.”
“It took in all probability a decade, and I feel we went by way of six (Eglin) commanders within the time in took to get it completed. The satan was within the particulars, this agreement concerned the FAA, the Pentagon and the Department of Defense in addition to the county and the Eglin commander,” she stated. “Lots of people do not perceive the ramifications, but it surely’s an ideal marriage between the navy and tourism.”
Destin-Fort Walton Airport’s alternative for progress
The joint use agreement also affords Destin-Fort Walton Airport the opportunity for future growth. It is presently closing in on completion of a brand new concourse that’s set to open in April.
Stage stated building of the concourse that might be residence to Allegiant Airlines is on schedule and on finances. The airports division itself, he stated, is debt free and “smashing each file there ever was” for the variety of passengers flying out and in.
Amazing progress:Airport growth continues to soar
Maintaining relationships:Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport honors Eglin airman with holiday trip back home
He stated he expects year-end numbers to replicate 2 million passengers served — a rise from 700,000 simply 5 years in the past — and a $2 billion financial impression on the native financial system.
“Due to the county commissioners’ improbable management, the residents of Okaloosa County now have an enhanced use lease till 2063 and a joint-use agreement till 2061,” Stage stated. “We have a debt-free three airport system, we have grown ridership 150%, we now have all of the main air carriers flying to over 50 cities within the nation and we have completed all of this within the final 5 years.”