Coastal Vision 3000 Chairman Buddy Runnels applauded Southwest Airlines’ announcement of its intent to serve Northwest Florida beginning in May 2010 when the new Northwest Florida – Panama City International Airport opens.


“This is a great day for our entire region,” said Runnels.  “We are so humbled by Southwest Airlines’ vote of confidence in our region. The Northwest Florida business community, from Perdido Key/ Pensacola to Carrabelle, has a lot to be proud of today.  We did this together, and our entire region will benefit.  It’s a real game-changer for tourism and economic development in Northwest Florida.”


Community delegations from Pensacola to Panama City have advocated for Southwest service for many years.  These efforts have included the development of a range of community-based incentive packages, commitments of marketing support and a pledge to serve as a true regional partner for the nation’s leading low-fare airline.


Each of the airports in the region sought service from Southwest, while the business community focused on winning service from the low-cost carrier, regardless of which airport was chosen.


“Coastal Vision’s focus has been on bringing low-cost service and more competitive airfares to Northwest Florida,” said Runnels.  “Southwest Airlines said they were interested in Northwest Florida as a regional destination. It is now our responsibility to come together as a region and maximize this opportunity for everyone and begin looking to the future instead of the past.”

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