Wednesday, August 30, 2006
projects to expand the terminal and general aviation ramp are slated to
begin Sept. 30, with plans to lengthen the runway in the future.
The projects, which have been in the works for three and four years respectively, are just two of many enveloped in the Airport Master Plan to build “a strong foundation for future airport operations,” according to a news release issued by the airport on Tuesday.
Included in the terminal expansion plans is the addition of 10,000 square feet to the airport security area and adjoining terminal, expansion of the baggage return area and consolidation of the checked luggage security area. Humboldt County Airport Manager Jacquelyn Hulsey said the nearly 25-year-old terminal has been in dire need of expansion since the Sept. 11 attacks.
“Since 9/11, all the security requirements took up a third of our existing terminal,” Hulsey said. “That took (part of the terminal) away from passengers and we had to bring in a mobile unit for security screening.”
She added that the airport wants to return to having a single room for security screening to facilitate supervision by Transportation Security Administration and law enforcement officials, and also to make passengers more comfortable.
Another issue facing the airport is an increase in the number of travelers flying in and out of Humboldt County in recent decades. Since the terminal was built, passenger numbers have nearly doubled from 60,000 in 1980 to 110,000 last year, and the terminal expansion will take into consideration the impact of rising passenger levels in the future as well.
“The airport is pretty much the front door and back door of the community, so I want everyone to have a good experience when they come through here,” Hulsey said.
Some building codes also need to be met so modernizations to the airport’s fire safety, PA and heating and cooling systems, among other upgrades, can occur.
Though the building facade from the front will not look any different after the renovations, the view from the tarmac will be noticeably different, according to county architect Tyler Holmes, who said it will be “modern and attractive.”
The expansion of the general aviation ramp will improve existing facilities for general aviation aircraft and local business, providing tie-down space for aircraft and, over time, will include the construction of approximately 29 hangars for use by small and large aircraft.
Although a time line for the 500-foot lengthening of the runway is vague at this point, Hulsey said it will eventually provide ample space for planes to take off and land with full passenger loads, and perhaps lead to flights east to places like Salt Lake City.
Currently, the Arcata/Eureka Airport services flights to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Redding, Crescent City and Portland, Ore.
The Arcata/Eureka Airport is set to expand its terminal and general aviation ramp Sept. 30. The airport also plans to lengthen the runway in the future.