Work appears to be on schedule to positively impact the 2024 Masters Tournament and 2024 Air Show.
Members of the Aviation Commission at Augusta Regional Airport were told during the October 26 regular meeting that a number of major projects are beginning.
One of those projects is the long-envisioned expansion of the terminal building by re-designing gates three and four on the east end of the building.
Enclosing the end of the terminal will add approximately 2,000 square feet and will require two new passenger boarding bridges that connect directly to the airplane door.
“We have all preliminary work, and (contractor) R.W. Allen has mobilized and has their job trailer out in front on the ramp,” said Elizabeth Giles, the airport’s senior construction project manager. “They’re setting up to demo and doing the preliminary work that we need. So, we’ll see that in full swing come next week. So very exciting. It’s going to be a big project.”
Those gates harken back to the early days of the airport when it was served by propellor airplanes and passengers walked out to the board.
The boarding bridges have already been ordered, so they will arrive about the same time as the expansion project is completed in early 2024. This is an approximately $5 million project.
Giles also updated commissioners on work at taxiway apron G that will connect the airport’s two runways.
“It is the foundation piece for development on our southeast airfield. You can’t develop an airfield without having a connector piece or a place to get to the whole area. So, this is our starting point to help future development on the airfield,” she explained, adding plans are underway for a similar connector project that will be taxiway apron F.
The additional aprons will also impact the airport’s ability to park additional private aircraft during Masters Week, similar to extra pavement available this year on the north end of the airport.
Diane Johnson briefed commissioners on an electric airplane that stopped in Augusta on October 24 to recharge. The aircraft, owned by BETA Technologies, a Vermont-based electric aerospace company, was being delivered to Duke Airfield in NW Florida. The ALIA Aircraft required a re-charge, and Johnson said Augusta Regional has the only airplane charging station in Georgia.
She said the ALIA Aircraft is currently experimental and in the production process. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) must certify any aircraft.
“The FAA is a partner of theirs. They watch all of the certification test flights, they send all the detailed information to them, and they come out and get inspected on a regular basis. And so, at some point in time, we think in the next probably two years, they should receive that certification. And then, they’ll start looking at other models,” she explained.
Johnson said the airport staff is looking into the possibility of having one of the electric aircraft at the 2024 air show.