Flying into and out of the Florida Panhandle is about to get a lot easier. Vision Airlines, which recently began offering flights from Northwest Florida Regional Airport, is already planning a major expansion.
Once a charter airline catering to celebrities, heads of state and corporations, the Georgia-based carrier will unveil plans to add seventeen cities to its route map at a kickoff event Tuesday.
Beginning March 25, passengers can fly non-stop from Destin/Fort Walton Beach to Louisville, KY, Baton Rouge, LA, Savannah, GA, Knoxville, TN and several other destinations. On April 1, Vision will add Asheville, NC, Chattanooga, TN, Columbia, SC, Shreveport, LA and Orlando.
The company said fares will begin at $79 for a one way ticket, but the airline will offer an introductory rate of $49 for flights to its new markets booked January 18-23.
“Sometimes all the options aren’t available for the different locations that people want to get to,” said Panama City resident Wesley Smith. “An additional airline with additional cities would be great.”
Amanda Stein said the low-cost direct flight will help her travel to Birmingham, where a family member is undergoing medical treatment. “If I can just fly up there real fast and fly home and not have to spend an entire day driving home for six hours… it would be a lot better for me,” said Stein.
“Anytime an airline offers low-cost flights to Northwest Florida, it benefits the entire region,” said Dan Rowe, Executive Director of the Panama City Beach Tourist Development Council.
Vision Airlines will fly Boeing 737s, which seat about 140 passengers, and the 30 passenger Dornier 328 turboprop to and from the new markets. The airline will formally announce its plans at a kickoff event in Destin on Tuesday afternoon, with Florida Governor Rick Scott scheduled to be in attendance.