The Year that Was…2022
It’s hard to believe another year has passed, so we thought it would be fun to look back at 2022 and recap some of the past year’s highlights.
At the beginning of 2022, PNS and the airline industry were experiencing a major rebound from the pandemic. Like many businesses, the airlines were trying to keep up with the massive ebb and flow of travel demand.
Covid, Masks, and Babies…Oh My!
Despite the uncertainty and onset of the Delta and Omicron variants (remember those?), we saw strong travel demand in the first quarter of 2022. Our friends at Pensacon brought some intergalactic fun to the community, and several airlines announced new seasonal routes to and from Pensacola.
By spring of this year, it was becoming clear that things were returning to normal…or even better than normal. We had a very strong Spring Break season, and in April, the Department of Homeland Security lifted the mask mandate. Airline passengers and flight crews alike all breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Shortly after this announcement, Pensacola played host to newborn baby “Sky” who was delivered on a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Orlando. Little Sky decided she was ready to join the world and was delivered on the plane in mid-air. The pilot radioed the situation to PNS and requested an emergency stop. Our operations dispatcher, Dave Covell, coordinated paramedics, police, and a Delta ground crew – all at 4:30am in the morning – to allow the Frontier plane to land and for EMS to get mother and baby safely to the hospital.
Then Came Summer…
…and in the words of Forrest Gump, we…were…running!
Fortunately, we opened a new surface economy lot in May 2022. This added 300+ parking spaces, including 11 electric vehicle charging stations. Little did we know just how much we would need that extra parking!
By the time summer arrived, we were shattering records, eclipsing even the rebound numbers from the same time period in 2021. While the additional traffic caused some challenges for airlines and their staffing nationally, here at PNS we continued to adjust and adapt, making sure anyone traveling with us could Fly Easy.
In addition, ST Engineering continued construction through the summer on Hangar Two, part of the four-hangar airplane maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) complex that, when complete, will create over 1,700 aviation jobs.
Is it Fall Yet?
Fall brought some cooler weather (at least for a bit) and a new Customs and Border Protection office at our general aviation facility. This will allow us to process more international travelers coming by private planes to the area, and expands our relationship with that important agency.
Luckily, we avoided any major hurricane impacts, but we were prepared for any weather problems, and in fact, helped to redirect and host planes that were being moved away from the storms in south and central Florida.
Soon, we’ll be enjoying an updated and renovated Chick-Fil-A inside the airport. This passenger favorite closed down in October for renovations and equipment upgrades which will bring a wider selection of menu items to PNS. (We’re not sure if that means peach milkshakes this summer…but we’ll let you know as soon as we find out!)
And that brings us to now, and to “thank you.”
We’re not the largest airport you’ll ever use (although we have plans to expand…more on that next year!), but we take our promise seriously to help you Fly Easy. We are grateful to be your Gateway to the Gulf Coast, whether you are just visiting or coming back home.
So, from all of us at Pensacola International Airport, have a wonderful holiday season, safe travels, and we look forward to Flying Easy with you sometime soon!