July 3, 2012 -
A three-year agreement that helped woo Southwest Airlines to the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport worked so well that the airline agreed to terminate the pact early, officials for St. Joe Co. announced Monday. St. Joe had entered an agreement with the airline to cover up to $26 million in operating losses if traffic from the new Panama City airport proved inadequate. Southwest, which began service in 2010, accounts for more than half of the passenger totals in and out of the new facility. The airport has seen its market share grow steadily among travelers to and from the region, increasing from 9 percent in 2009 to more than 25 percent in 2012. "In every respect, the agreement with St. Joe has been a triumph," said Bob Montgomery, Southwest vice president for airport affairs, said in a statement. "It has fulfilled its mission and achieved its intended purpose." Southwest recently extended its lease agreement with the airport through 2015.