Northwest Florida Regional Airport
|Northwest Florida Regional Airport
Eglin Air Force Base
|USGS aerial photo as of 15 February 1999|
|IATA: VPS – ICAO: KVPS – FAA LID: VPS
|Airport type||Public / Military|
|Owner/Operator||United States Air Force|
|Serves||Fort Walton Beach, Destin|
|Elevation AMSL||87 ft / 27 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Northwest Florida Regional Airport (IATA: VPS, ICAO: KVPS, FAA LID: VPS) is an airport within Eglin Air Force Base, near Valparaiso and Fort Walton Beach in Okaloosa County, Florida. No private aircraft are allowed, so Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport is used for non-commercial operations. The airport was called Okaloosa Regional Airport until September 2008.
Northwest Florida Regional Airport is served by the regional airline affiliates of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways which fly nonstop regional jets to hubs in the southern and eastern United States. Delta Air Lines mainline jets fly to its hub in Atlanta. In 2008 the FAA recorded over 373,808 enplanements at the airport.
1957: The Okaloosa County Air Terminal opened on Eglin Air Force Base in building 89 with 3 personnel (Airport Manager, Security and Admin Support). Southern Airways was the only passenger airline, with Douglas DC-3s direct to Atlanta via several stops. Passengers entered the base through the East Gate near Valparaiso, thus the airport code of VPS.
1968:Air New Orleans began passenger flights to New Orleans and other cities.
February 1975: The new James E. Plew Terminal Building of the Okaloosa Air Terminal, on State Road 85, opened in mid-February 1975, with dedication on 22 February. Congressman Bob Sikes and Southern Airways President Frank Hulse were some of the speakers. The 32,000 sq ft (3,000 m2) facility cost $1.7 million. Federal grants totaled $472,000, state $80,000, Okaloosa County bond sale $1.1 million, and Southern Airways $190,000. First year enplaned passengers totaled 97,000 with Southern Airways as the sole airline serving VPS with 12 departing flights daily.
1979: On July 1, 1979 Southern Airways merged with North Central Airlines to form Republic Airlines. In July 1979 Republic flew Douglas DC-9s nonstop from VPS to Atlanta, GA; Dothan, AL; Mobile, AL; New Orleans, LA; Orlando, FL and Tallahassee, FL. Republic had directDC-9s to Baton Rouge, LA; Chicago, IL (O'Hare Airport), Fort Lauderdale, FL; Memphis, TN; Monroe, LA; New York (LaGuardia Airport) and Washington (Dulles Airport). Prior to the merger Southern flew all of these nonstop and direct DC-9 routes and had direct DC-9s to Birmingham, AL; Miami, FL and Nashville, TN.
1986-1987: On October 1, 1986 Northwest Airlines completed its merger with Republic Airlines. Northwest flew one route from VPS: nonstop to Memphis, a Northwest hub. By September 1987 Northwest had four nonstops a day to Memphis with Douglas DC-9-30 and DC-9-50s. Later Northwest would reduce its schedule from VPS to three daily DC-9s nonstop to Memphis. No other airline flew jets to VPS until Valujet/Airtran appeared in the 1990s.
November 2004: The current Northwest Florida Regional Airport opened its doors following an expansion with more parking, a larger aircraft parking apron, a second parallel taxiway, landscaping and a new 110,000 sq ft (10,000 m2) passenger terminal.
January 2008: Ground was broken for the Consolidated Rental Car Service Facility located on 22 acres (89,000 m2) east of the airport. This facility will have offices for five rental car companies and rental car service facilities with hydraulic lifts, automated car washes, gas pumps and vacuum islands and a consolidated fuel farm for aviation and unleaded gasoline. A cargo facility and new offices for airport maintenance will be built to the east of the terminal.
May 2009: The Consolidated Rental Car Service Facility opened on a new 22-acre (89,000 m2) leasehold just east of the main terminal. This $14M project came in on time and under budget and was funded with rental car user fees.
January 2010: Delta Air Lines completed its merger with Northwest Airlines on January 31, 2010. Delta scaled back the Northwest hub operation in Memphis, and service between VPS and MEM was discontinued in favor of nonstop flights to Delta's hub in Atlanta.
2011: Vision Airlines began a scheduled passenger hub at VPS with flights to Asheville, NC; Atlanta, GA; Baton Rouge, LA; Columbia, SC; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Fort Myers, FL; Greenville/Spartanburg, SC; Huntsville, AL; Knoxville, TN; Lafayette, LA; Las Vegas, NV; Little Rock, AR; Louisville, KY; Sanford, FL; Savannah, GA; Shreveport, LA; St. Louis, MO; and St. Petersburg, FL. Vision flew Boeing 737s and Dornier 328s. Vision later ended all flights at the airport and shut down its hub.
Northwest Florida Regional Airport and Eglin AFB share two runways: 12/30 is 12,005 x 300 ft (3,659 x 91 m) asphalt/concrete and 1/19 is 10,012 x 300 ft (3,052 x 91 m) asphalt. In the year ending March 31, 2006 the airport had 126,060 aircraft operations, average 345 per day: 71% military, 19% airline, 8% general aviation and 2% air taxi.
The airport has a 110,000 ft² passenger terminal with three second-level gates with passenger jet ways and three ground-level commuter gates with regional jet boarding bridges
The terminal is a two-level, 107,000 square foot facility opened in November 2004. The old terminal building was demolished soon after. The terminal has areas for ticketing and baggage claim and upper and lower courses with gates. The first level has Gates A1, A2, and A3 and waiting areas and concessions. The second-level concourse has Gates B1, B2, and B3 and a restaurant and concession areas. The terminal was designed to allow future expansion. The Northwest Florida Regional Airport Master Plan Update says a project to extend the concourse 120 feet and add three gates is under consideration (2010).
Access to the terminal is off of State Road 85. Parking facilities are to the left, the terminal or loop is straight ahead and rental car return is to the right. The airport loop road has two pass-through lanes on the left and three arrival-departure lanes in front of the terminal. The loop road is a two-lane asphalt roadway about ¾ mile long. Short-term and long-term parking facilities are available. The parking facilities were improved in the early 2000s as part of the new terminal expansion. These were designed with the Transportation Security Administration's "300-foot rule" in mind, and satisfy the 300-foot distance between parked vehicles and the terminal building.
Okaloosa County owns and operates the airport terminal, which is on 131 acres of Eglin AFB property that is lease from the U.S. Department of the Air Force. The property is leased until 2031 and limits aircraft operations at 80 per day. It is unique in that the county staffs the airport, yet it leases the property from the USAF. Okaloosa County Commission serves as a policy board and hires the airport staff.
Greg Donovan, A.A.E. is VPS's Airport Director. Greg worked as the Operations Manager at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wisconsin for 9 years prior to being appointed to this position in 2001. He has also worked for the Houston Airport System at Hobby Airport as an Airport Operations Aide (1992), a Management Intern at America West Airlines corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona (1991) and as a Management Assistant with the Federal Aviation Administration at Orlando International Airport (1989). He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Management from Florida Institute of Technology in 1991 and holds a private pilot's license. Donovan served as President of the Wisconsin Airport Management Association (WAMA) in 2001 and graduated from Leadership Pensacola in 2003. He currently chairs the Florida Airports Council (FAC) facilities committee and is an active member of the Continuing Florida Aviation Systems Planning Process (CFASPP) (Florida Airports Council Facilities & Information Technology Conference, 2006).
Airlines and destinations
|American Eagle operated by Envoy||Dallas/Fort Worth|
|American Eagle operated by ExpressJet||Dallas/Fort Worth|
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta|
|Delta Connection operated by ExpressJet||Atlanta|
|United Express operated by ExpressJet||Houston-Intercontinental|
|US Airways Express operated by Air Wisconsin||Charlotte, Washington-National|
|US Airways Express operated by PSA Airlines||Charlotte, Washington-National|
Delta Air Lines is the only airline flying mainline jets to VPS: Airbus A319s, Boeing 717s and McDonnell Douglas MD-88s. Delta Connection flies Canadair CRJ-200s and Canadair CRJ-700s from VPS. Other airlines at the airport use Canadair or Embraer regional jets.
- FAA Airport Master Record for VPS ( PDF), effective 2008-07-31.
- "Commercial Service Airports(Primary and Non-primary), Calendar Year 2008". Federal Aviation Administration. December 17, 2009. Retrieved May 15, 2011. "Rank 137; identified as "Eglin AFB""
- timetableimages.com, Jan. 7, 1958 Southern timetable
- Fort Walton Beach, Florida, "Terminal Dedication Saturday", Playground Daily News, Friday 21 February 1975, Volume 30, Number 13, page 1A.
- departedflights.com, July 1, 1979 Republic timetable
- departedflights.com, July 1, 1978 Southern timetable
- departedflights.com, September 9, 1987 Northwest timetable
- departedflights.com, April 1995 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
- http://www.visionairlines.com, Press Releases
- Delta Air Lines June 2013 timetable
- Northwest Florida Regional Airport, official site
- Eglin Air Force Base, official site
- Northwest Florida Regional Airport Shuttle Service., Ground Transportation to VPS
- (PDF), effective March 6, 2014
- FAA Terminal Procedures for VPS, effective March 6, 2014
- Resources for this airport:
- Northwest Florida Regional Airport Shuttle Service., Ground Transportation Shuttles