Why do we need to expand the airport?
The airport’s current facilities are half the size necessary for the amount of traffic it receives. It does not meet standards set by International Air Transportation Authority or the recommendations of the Federal Aviation Administration. The expansion will not only provide more space for flight check-ins, baggage handling, offices, security and parking for both aircraft and automobiles, but it will also help the airport meet these current standards.
Will the new terminal improve flight service?
A new terminal will allow more aircraft to stay at the airport. It will also address other issues to help improve travelers’ experiences and provide more space for employees to function behind the scenes. In its current state, the airport risks losing more carriers, which reduces competition and will result in increased fares.
Will the expansion bring in more passengers or airlines?
The airport has seen significant growth, and the current facilities are not large enough to handle the traffic, causing delays in check-in, security screening and baggage claim. Because of the current state of the airport, 200,000 passengers opt to fly from Denver or Albuquerque, resulting in a loss of about $7.6 million. The proposed plan will allow the airport to serve passengers more adequately. The expansion provides more space for both planes and offices, which could result in more airlines providing service to Durango. This new facility will also be built to better accommodate future expansion as needed.
What exactly is the plan?
The plan includes building a new 82,000 square-foot terminal on the east side of the runway. It also includes upgrading and extending utility services such as water and electricity, extending a road to service the new terminal and adding more parking for both vehicles and planes. A new tarmac will allow the airport to manage up to five flights at one time. In addition to providing room for facilities that are housed in the existing terminal, the new terminal will have the ability to handle future growth.
Why is there an issue with parking planes?
Airlines are beginning to transition to larger aircraft which carry 70-125 passengers as opposed to current planes that carry 35-50 passengers. Currently, these larger planes must be parked sideways to fit on the tarmac. This leaves parking room for only two planes instead of four.
Why won’t a remodel serve this plan?
A remodel would increase the potential for travelers to experience issues, delays or cancellations for three or more years. The plans proposed for a remodel were shut down because they were not cost effective. In addition to costing more money, remodeling the current landlocked terminal prevents the airport from handling future growth. An entirely new terminal is the most cost effective way to meet the current standards and plan for future growth as well.
Do we need to purchase more land for this plan?
The airport already owns the land the proposed expansion will use, therefore no land will need to be purchased.
Who will pay for it and how much will it cost?
Under the proposed plan, money from the FAA and user fees paid by passengers will account for $40 million of the expansion, while the other $40 million will be generated from tax revenue. The average home valued at $400,000 would pay approximately $50.63 more on their property tax annually. The average homeowner would pay less than $5 each month.
Who will benefit from this expansion?
Besides benefiting the region by providing adequate air transportation, the airport supports more than 2,600 jobs in the region and lessens the community’s tax burden by $4.68 million annually.
If I don’t travel, why should I care?
The airport is a community asset. It lessens the tax burden of the community members it supports, generates $161.1 million in general economic activity and encourages tourism, which generates $43 million for the region. Without the airport, this region would be less connected to what matters.