Sun, May 19, 2024

Mapping the future of Augusta Regional

A Georgia Department of Transportation study found the airport has an economic impact of more than $182.7 million. Airport leadership wants to grow that impact and the Master Plan is the road map.

The public is being asked to weigh in on options for the terminal area Master Plan for Augusta Regional Airport.

The plan breaks down improvements into two priorities. Priority one calls for additional security checkpoint lanes and equipment, as well as enlargement of passenger lounges. Priority two includes improvements to the airline check-in desks and waiting areas. It also includes modifications to outbound baggage screening and inbound baggage claims.

Lauren Smith, the airport’s Assistant Director of Marketing and Public Relations, said it is hoped the improvements will attract a third airline to service Augusta.

“Airlines often look at the different airports, amenities, and infrastructure that they have set before they even initiate any type of new service. So, we are constantly talking to the airlines and making sure that they know that we are building the airport to what it needs to be to accommodate larger aircraft and more passenger enplanements for us,” she explained.

Some of the improvements are already underway, most notably reconfiguring Gates 3 and 4 to allow the use of boarding bridges, rather than passengers walking out to the aircraft. The boarding bridges have already been delivered. Although the work will not be completed, the changes should be available in Masters Week. Part of the funding for the $5 million project was a grant from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act.

The plan also includes changes to the terminal building itself, including a two-story addition to the north side of the existing building. It envisions using the ground level for administrative offices, while the second level would have concessions and passenger boarding.

“This is very much a modernization. This terminal is not that old. It’s only about 15 years old, but the aviation industry is dynamic, things are changing constantly,” Ryan Hayes with Mead&Hunt, the airport’s consultant, told ABD. “Another reason for this, the airport is seeing larger aircraft with higher seating capacities, and we want a terminal that can accommodate those higher passenger loads. So, we want larger hold rooms and an increased security screening checkpoint, increased space, so that the public is comfortable when they’re moving through this airport.”

The plan will add 20,400 square feet of new space. It has an estimated cost of $42.3 million. Smith said airport personnel are proud of the accomplishments they have made so far. Now, they are ready to go to the next level.

“We have big plans for our airport,” she said. “We want it to be the main airport of choice in our community. We don’t want people to think about going to Atlanta or Columbia or Charlotte when we have all the amenities and the flights that they want here in Augusta.”

The airport held an open house to explain the projects. The plan is also online at https://flyags.com/ags-terminal-area-plan-open-house/.

The public can send comments to Elizabeth Giles, the airport’s Senior Construction Project Manager at egiles@augustaga.gov.

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