The first post-11 September airport development in the US is currently under way in Florida. And the developer, St Joe Company, is at Farnborough in the Florida Pavilion (Stand C13, Hall 3) for the third time running, spreading the news to aerospace companies which could benefit from the development.

Stricter security regulations following the 2001 attacks and the SARS outbreak have resulted in airports around the US retrofitting tighter security measures. The new West Bay airport will be the first to integrate these measures in a new build, and will serve as a prototype for new airport security technology.

As the centrepiece of a 75,000 acre (30,000Ha), long-term land-use planning project, the airport development involves the relocation of the existing Panama City-Bay County International Airport to a new site, nearly six times larger, in West Bay, Northwest Florida.

The development is a public-private partnership between Bay County, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the St Joe, one of Florida's largest real estate agents.


Funded by the federal government, the State of Florida and the FAA, total investment amounts to $284 million. St Joe is donating the 4,000 acres needed for the airport as well as an additional 10,000 acres for wetland conservation. Its total land donation is valued at $42 million.

Two reasons for relocation are air space constraints and FAA regulations to increase runway safety areas. With a bay on one side, a highway on the other and surrounded by retail and residential neighbourhoods, there is no room for expansion. The presence of air defence bases and air traffic control training in the area contribute to constraints.

Increasing economic development is another contributing factor for relocation, and one of the reasons St Joe is at Farnborough.

A 4.4 million square foot industrial park next to the airport will provide manufacturing and transportation-dependant businesses with an optimum location, says Nathan Sparks, St Joe's director of economic development.

Some of the companies he lists as beneficiaries are aircraft parts manufacturers, cargo handlers and businesses dealing in the transportation of anything from flowers to seafood. There will also be 5,842 residential units, 490 hotel rooms and two marinas.



Source: Flight Daily News