Airport pushes forward after big announcement
COLUMBIA - The Airport Advisory Board has more work to do regarding a possible new terminal, despite an exciting announcement earlier this week to add bigger aircraft.
In an announcement earlier in the week, city leaders said bigger planes will start flying out of Columbia Regional Airport in January to Chicago, and in February to Dallas-Fort Worth.
"American [Airlines] has been a great partner, a lot of people have put a lot of work to move this up almost two years on a time line," the Public Works spokesperson Steven Sapp said. "It really is kind of a big deal."
Sapp sits in on the board meetings and said this is not going to slow it down. The next goal for the board is possibly a new terminal.
"We expect the airport advisory board to soon start talking about a terminal. Columbia Regional was constructed in the late 60's, came online about 1969 so the terminal is approaching 50 years in age," Sapp said.
Sapp says funding could come from the FAA but only after improvements are made to the existing airport.
"After we do that infrastructure improvement there is the potential, not a guarantee, that the FAA would look at their discretionary funding to help finance a renovated or new terminal," Sapp said.
According to an October flight pattern Columbia Regional has a 17 county reach. The airport also fills 80 percent of the flights in and out of Columbia regional. Sapp said there was a lot of expansion and not much was done to keep the building itself up to date.
"The building itself is outdated," Sapp said. "Security issues have changed dramatically. So a space that was once a massive lobby is now taken up almost entirely up by security screening."
The Airport Advisory Board meets just after noon on Wednesday.