New SWGA Airport Terminal On Track for Summer Opening
Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013
Construction of the $10.8 million terminal building at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport is on budget and on track for completion in June. Airport operations are scheduled to move from the current building into the new terminal in July.
"We're a little more than 50 percent complete now. Inside trades – drywall, glass and tile – are on site," said Yvette Aehle, SWGA Regional Airport director.
"We expect to bid the third phase of the construction this spring, which will include demolition of the current building, new short-term parking and rental car parking on its site and construction of a new FAA radio equipment building. Construction of the third phase should be complete in the summer of 2014."
According to Aehle, there will be some inconvenience for people after the new terminal opens, particularly for those parking in current parking areas and walking to the new terminal. However, sequencing the project in this manner – meaning completing the new terminal and then starting on the new parking areas – is essential to keeping the airport operating throughout the project.
Restrooms and WiFi Top New Amenities List
Among the most anticipated features of the new terminal are restrooms located past the security checkpoint.
"The current terminal was not built to handle September 11th security procedures. Now that passengers have to get to the airport early to make it through security, restroom access past security is really essential," Aehle said.
The new building will also offer WiFi connectivity in all areas. The current terminal has WiFi but only in certain areas due to structural limitations. More comfortable seating will also be installed and may include power in some seats for recharging electronic devices.
"We want to make the terminal more business-friendly, meaning business travellers who may experience cancellations or delays can be productive while they are waiting," Aehle said.
Built for Today with Flexibility to Grow
The new terminal is sized to handle current traffic levels as SWGA. However the building has been designed with the flexibility to accommodate future expansions on its northern and southern ends.
"Albany is a very stable destination with traffic in the range of 35,000 to 40,000 passengers each year for the past 20 years. Barring a major business expansion in the area, we anticipate SWGA will be a single-carrier airport for the foreseeable future," Aehle said.
In 2012, passenger traffic was essentially the same as in 2011. Traffic in 2011 increased about 3 percent over 2010.
While final numbers are not yet available, 2012 cargo traffic at SWGA was "up a little bit," according to Aehle. SWGA is the second largest airport in Georgia by cargo volume. United Parcel Service, which has a sorting facility on site, is the airport's largest revenue generator.
More information on SWGA Regional Airport is available on the city of Albany website at http://www.albany.ga.us/content/1798/2879/2935/default.aspx.
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