Columbia Regional Airport Plans New Terminal
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Regional Advisory Board met Wednesday afternoon to discuss plans to build a brand new terminal.
The new terminal will have three to five gates and be located on the north side of the airport.
Chair of Columbia Regional Airport Advisory Board Greg Cecil said if passed, the three quarters of a cent sales tax on the August ballot will help build a new terminal at the airport, but not cover the entirety of the project.
"If we could use some funds from the sales tax to help offset some of our costs, we could get further ahead to help with improvements around the airport," Cecil said.
Cecil said the design process for the new terminal is ongoing. The advisory board is collaborating with a team of engineers to design the new terminal.
"They are putting together some designs and costs for us," Cecil said. "We should hear back within the next six months or so with what the building would look like and what it would cost."
The board originally looked at remodeling the current terminal. Cecil said it would cost around $20 million to remodel. A new terminal will be more expensive, however, Cecil said the board thinks it is best for the airport.
A new terminal is not the only improvement being made at the airport. The FAA gave the airport a $395,000 grant to work on intersection of the runways. Construction on that will start around May 2015. The money from the grant will go toward collecting samples from the runway and start designs.
The board also discussed potential new flights at the meeting. Currently, the airport's most popular flights are to Chicago and Denver. The board plans to analyze data to see where Columbia fliers venture to most often to see if adding flights would generate revenue and be worthwhile. However, Cecil said the board does not want new flights to disrupt the relationship the airport has established with American Airlines.
"We're always interested in having flights out of Columbia," Cecil said. "If we want more flights, is it best to work with American, like we've done in the past? They know us and we've established a good relationship with them. But it's hard to get other airlines to come here."
Cecil said the project will take a few years. The start of construction depends on when the advisory board meets with the team of engineers.
[Editor's Note: This post was corrected to clarify the location of improvements to the tarmac.]