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Albany International Airport Rebranding, "Going Places"

Philip Calderone, CEO of Albany International Airport.
Albany International Airport
Philip Calderone, CEO of Albany International Airport.

With air travel rebounding as millions of Americans are vaccinated against COVID-19, Albany International Airport is rebranding.

Albany County Airport Authority CEO Phil Calderone says the "Going Places" theme coincides with the creation of the new Airport Master Plan, the first one in 28 years, which aims to establish a working document to be used as a blueprint to guide the Airport Authority through expansion plans.

"We are looking forward to new growth and new development here at the airport," Calderone said. "And we thought it would be appropriate to update a logo that's, you know, the old airport logo is probably also over 25-years-old. We wanted to create a new fresh image for the airport that would mirror what we're doing with our master plan. And our attempt to make Albany Airport known as a catalyst for economic development and growth in the area."

Calderone says this is where the "smart airport" concept comes in.

"We have folks going throughout the airport, all throughout the day, cleaning and sanitizing surfaces," he said. "We've also installed in the airport, new technologies like UV light technologies, biometrics and blockchain technologies, smart airport technologies all focused on keeping passengers safe, and in a clean and sanitized airport environment. And, you know, we're coming out of the dark days of the pandemic, folks are becoming, are getting vaccinated. Air travel has picked up dramatically. Last week, we hit over 2,000 enplanements a day for several days in a row, which is the first time we've done that since pre-pandemic days. And this coming week, we have several more days where we'll be hitting over 2,000. So we're, you know, we're still significantly below the, you know, 5,000 per day number that we had pre pandemic, but we're, we're improving."

Credit Albany International Airport
Albany International Airport's new logo.

Among improvements, Calderone points to a redesigned food court, terminal upgrades, air filtration and a variety of safety protocols.

"We were one of the first airports in the country to make sure that mask wearing is mandatory," he explained. "We continue to emphasize that here at our airport. Social distancing, hand washing, we have phone, smartphones and smart device sanitization stations placed throughout the airport. So doing those kinds of things, I think, will give passengers continued confidence to travel."

Calderone says the airport now boasts a 1,000-vehicle "smart garage."

"Smart technologies within the garage will tell you what floor to go on, the capacity, the number of cars that can park on a particular floor, how many slots and what slots are open," Calderone detailed. "It also has the capability to track your plate number and to remind you through your smart device where your car was parked if you should forget where you parked your car. So there are new smart technologies starting right from the new parking garage. Then you'll enter a terminal that has had a facelift. There are new bathrooms and that's important in this environment because these are facilities that are practically touchless. And so that's important that we were ahead of the curve there and terms of designing facilities that meet the moment. And you'll see, you know, a new Times Square area with new flooring, new concessions, and there are a whole new look to the airport."

Other changes being rolled out include space for new airlines, an expanded TSA security checkpoint, additional terminal gates, new cargo facilities and a COVID-19 test kit kiosk, accessible to travelers and non-travelers alike.

"Folks can purchase the kit, take the test home with them or self-administer it here at the airport," he explained. "And it involves simply swabbing the inside of your mouth, putting it inside a vial that's provided, and mailing it back using UPS to Quandrant Biosciences and SUNY Upstate, and results are generally within 24 to 48-hour period, from the time they receive it. And, again, it's rated as the by the CDC and the FDA as the number one base test in terms of efficacy in the world. So we're very proud that we're the first commercial use of that test.”

Calderone adds the kiosk is located on the first floor just around the corner from the airport information desk. The kit costs $65.

Elsewhere, San Francisco-based Boutique Air said last week it will start a new direct flight from Burlington, Vermont to Boston, the first in more than a decade. The 45-minute flight will run daily.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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