TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--It's official. The airport in capital city is no longer called the Tallahassee Regional Airport. It's now the Tallahassee International Airport.
It's been given international status by the Federal Aviation Administration.
It's the first step to flying directly outside of the country from right here in the Big Bend.
"I started at the Tallahassee airport when it was the old cinder block building when you had to walk out on the tarmac," said Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox. "I've worked very hard to improve our airport."
Now the world will know that Tallahassee is ready to move forward, according to the airport's director of aviation Chris Curry. Maddox expects to see even more cargo come in and out of the airport.
"We already do 9.5 billion pounds of cargo each year," said Maddox. "We'll see that increase. We'll see private planes come directly here from out of the country. All of that will lower the cost and will help us get more carriers going more places for lower fares."
Over the next three to four years, the goal is to complete an international arrivals facility.
"Once completed that facility allows us to process international freight, passengers," said Curry. "It also allows general aviation aircraft to fly in the airport without having to stop at another port of entry."
Folks from all across the city joined in on this milestone to show their support.
Airport employees joined in on the celebration, like Ervin Johnson, who has helped people for 24 years at the airport with their luggage.
"History is being made today, and I'm glad to be a part of history," said Johnson.
Curry says once the arrivals facility is completed, the first flights would be to places like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Canada. Meanwhile, we'll have to get use to calling it the Tallahassee International Airport.
Renovations and improvements that are currently underway were also highlighted. This includes new terrazzo flooring in the pre-security area of the terminal. The baggage security checkpoint will also be moved to speed up the processing of luggage.