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 located within Eglin Air Force Base, near Valparaiso and Fort Walton Beach in Okaloosa County, Florida, United States. No private aircraft are permitted to leave out of or arrive at Northwest Florida Regional, so Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport is used for non-commercial operations. The airport was formerly known as Okaloosa Regional Airport until its name was changed in September 2008.
Northwest Florida Regional Airport is currently served by the regional airline affiliates of American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and US Airways which operate nonstop regional jet service to the respective connecting hubs of these air carriers in the southern and eastern United States. In addition, Delta Air Lines operates mainline jet service from the airport 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 air carrier providing scheduled airline service. Southern was operating Douglas DC-3 propellor aircraft at this time from the airfield with direct service to Atlanta via several intermediate stops. Passengers would enter the base through the East Gate adjacent to Valparaiso, thus the airport code of VPS was born.
1968: Southern Airways began operating four daily flights with Douglas DC-9 jetliners from VPS. Air New Orleans also began passenger flights with commuter service to New Orleans and other destinations.
February 1975: The newly constructed James E. Plew Terminal Building of the Okaloosa Air Terminal, located on State Road 85, opened its doors in mid-February 1975, with a dedication ceremony held on Saturday, 22 February. Congressman Bob Sikes and Southern Airways President Frank Hulse were some of the guest speakers. The 32,000 sq ft (3,000 m2) facility was constructed at a cost of $1.7 million. Financing for the entire facility was through federal, state, and local money. 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 which in turn continued to serve the airport. According to the July 1, 1979 Republic system timetable, the airline was flying nonstop Douglas DC-9 jet service from VPS to Atlanta, GA; Dothan, AL; Mobile, AL; New Orleans, LA; Orlando, FL and Tallahassee, FL. At this same time, Republic was also operating direct, no change of plane DC-9 jet service from the airport to Baton Rouge, LA; Chicago, IL (O'Hare Airport), Fort Lauderdale, FL; Memphis, TN; Monroe, LA; New York City, NY (LaGuardia Airport) and Washington D.C. (Dulles Airport). Prior to the merger, Southern flew all of these same nonstop and direct routes from VPS with its DC-9 twin jets and also operated direct, same plane jet service to Birmingham, AL; Miami, FL and Nashville, TN.
1986-1987: On October 1, 1986 Northwest Airlines completed its acquisition and merger with Republic Airlines. Northwest continued to serve VPS but only flew one route: nonstop service to Memphis, TN (MEM) which was the location of one the airline's hubs. By September 1987, Northwest was only operating four flights a day from the airport nonstop to Memphis with Douglas DC-9-30 and DC-9-50 jetliners. In later years, Northwest would further reduce its flight schedule from VPS to just three daily flights operated with Douglas DC-9-10 and DC-9-30 jets nonstop to Memphis.
November 2004: The current Northwest Florida Regional Airport opened its doors following a major expansion program including additional public parking and 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 all 5 rental car companies as well as rental car service facilities with hydraulic lifts, automated car washes, gas pumps and vacuum islands and a consolidated fuel farm for both aviation and unleaded gasoline. A cargo facility and new offices for airport maintenance will also be built to the east of the terminal and are included in the project.
May 2009: The Consolidated Rental Car Service Facility was 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 entirely with rental car user fees.
January 2010: Delta Air Lines completed its merger with Northwest Airlines on January 31, 2010. Delta subsequently scaled back the former Northwest hub operation in Memphis, and service between VPS and MEM was discontinued in favor of nonstop flights to the Delta hub in Atlanta.
2011: Vision Airlines began a scheduled passenger hub operation at the Northwest Florida Regional Airport 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 was operating Boeing 737 jetliners and Dornier 328 turboprops on these scheduled services. However, Vision subsequently ended all flights at the airport and shut down its hub operation at VPS .
Facilities and aircraft
Northwest Florida Regional Airport and Eglin AFB share two runways: 12/30 with a 12,005 x 300 ft (3,659 x 91 m) asphalt/concrete surface and 1/19 with a 10,012 x 300 ft (3,052 x 91 m) asphalt pavement. For the 12-month period ending March 31, 2006, the airport had 126,060 aircraft operations, an average of 345 per day: 71% military, 19% scheduled commercial, 8% general aviation and 2% air taxi.
The airport has a 110,000 ft² airport passenger terminal building with three second-level gates with passenger jet ways and three ground-level commuter gates with regional jet boarding bridges
The passenger terminal at VPS is a two-level, 107,000 square foot facility as was opened in November 2004. The old terminal building was demolished soon after. The terminal provides areas for ticketing and baggage claim and upper and lower courses with gates to board aircraft. The first level has Gates A1, A2, and A3. Located here also are waiting areas and concessions. The second-level concourse has Gates B1, B2, and B3, and also has a restaurant and concession areas. The terminal was designed so that future expansion would be possible. According to the Northwest Florida Regional Airport Master Plan Update, a project to extend the concourse 120 feet and add three additional gates is under consideration (2010). Access to the terminal is provided via a designated entrance off of State Road 85.There are then three option when entering the airport loop. There are parking facilities to the left, access to the terminal or loop straight ahead, or access to the rental car return 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 approximately ¾ mile in length. Short-term and long-term parking facilities are also available. The parking facilities underwent a major improvement program in the early 2000s as part of the new terminal expansion program. These facilities 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. This reduces the need to extra security personnel.
Okaloosa County owns and operates the airport terminal, which sits 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 American Eagle Airlines||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 air carrier that currently operates mainline jet aircraft into the airport. The aircraft types flown by Delta from VPS include Airbus A319, McDonnell Douglas DC-9-50 and McDonnell Douglas MD-88 jetliners. Delta Connection also operates Canadair CRJ-200 and Canadair CRJ-700 regional jets from VPS. All of the other airlines that currently serve the airport operate Canadair or Embraer regional jets on their respective flights.
|1||Atlanta, GA||165,000||Delta, Vision|
|2||Dallas-Fort Worth, TX||70,000||American|
|3||Charlotte, NC||48,000||US Airways|
|7||Little Rock, AR||4,000||Vision|
|10||St. Petersburg, FL||3,000||Vision|
- 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 Airways system 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 Airlines system timetable
- departedflights.com, July 1, 1978 Southern Airways system timetable
- departedflights.com, September 9, 1987 Northwest Airlines system timetable
- departedflights.com, April 1995 Official Airline Guide (OAG), North American edition
- www.visionairlines.com, Press Releases
- Delta Air Lines June 2013 system 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 November 14, 2013
- FAA Terminal Procedures for VPS, effective November 14, 2013
- Resources for this airport:
- Northwest Florida Regional Airport Shuttle Service., Ground Transportation Shuttles