A 55-million dollar expansion and renovation at the Plattsburgh International Airport will more than triple the size of the existing terminal. Airport officials today gave tours to community officials and the media, showing the progress of the expansion, which is now in Phase Two.
A new terminal at the Plattsburgh International Airport was built in 2006. But the entire facility is being rebuilt in three phases. Phase one has already expanded parking. Phase three will add a customs facility for future international flights.
Phase two is in progress and entails rebuilding the airport terminal. The current terminal has only one gate bridge. The new building will have three with an option for a fourth. The passenger concourse is moving upstairs and expanding.
Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garry Douglas explained that much of the airport’s success is due to the volume of Canadian passengers. “Until this airport came around Montreal was the last major metropolitan city in North America that did not have a single secondary airport. Well, little Plattsburgh raised its hand and said we’re going to be the secondary airport for Montreal. And that’s what it’s become. 80 to 85 percent of passengers flying out of this airport are coming from Canada.”
With work crews busy and passengers waiting for flights, Airport Manager Chris Kreig led a walking tour through the expansion. “The original terminal that was built was roughly 30,000 square feet and was designed to support about 50,000 annual enplanements, or passenger boardings. We have about 300,000 passengers coming through this terminal annually in the last few years. The decision was made to go forward with an expansion. There’s not one area of the original terminal that was built that hasn’t been touched in this construction.”
From the new ticketing area, Kreig eventually led the group to the concourse. “What you see behind us is basically two-thirds of the new concourse. We’ve added dedicated concessions. We’re going with receptacles for people’s technology that they bring with them, the I-Pads, the I-Phones all that for charging. We’re taking advantage of the natural light. There’ll be a gate here. There’ll be a gate over there and then there’ll be two gates on the portion that hasn’t been constructed yet. Down on the far end there where that opening is that’s going to be used to relocate our security checkpoint. One of the biggest challenges is keeping the airport operations going while all this construction’s going on because everywhere in the terminal there’s construction going on.”
Following his tour, Conroy’s Organics owner and Area 9 Clinton County legislature candidate Chris Rosenquest called progress on the expansion beyond impressive. “It goes beyond just the number of enplanements and the number of international flights that we’re preparing to but it also addresses a lot of the general aviation concerns. Certainly when you get outside and you see the outside of the building and all of the windows that are set up, for me and I think a lot of people, you kind of step and just say wow. There’s a lot of construction happening up there and you’ll see the hustling and the bustling, all the painting and the tiling that people are putting in. It’s very nice to see.”
Officials plan to open the new concourse to passenger use next month. Phase two construction should be completed in October 2016.