Williamsport Regional Airport launches $13M project modernize

sábado, 12 julho 2014 219 Views 0 Comments
Williamsport Regional Airport launches $13M project modernize

Hoping to modernize and upgrade an aging terminal building and control tower, officials from the Williamsport Municipal Airport Authority, along with a partnership of government and business leaders, have announced a $13 million project to tear down the existing terminal building and control tower and erect a new one.

The existing terminal and tower buildings date back to 1947. Completion of the new facilities is expected in December 2013.

“Our aging terminal and tower facility has substantial structural deficiencies and no longer serves our growing aviation needs,” said Tom Hart, airport executive director. “There have been recurring problems with the building; such as heating and air conditioning, electrical, plumbing and roof system. Also the building exterior is in poor condition. Our terminal lacks the necessary space to handle current and expected passenger volumes due to the Marcellus Shale business and other types of commerce.”

Both Mark Murawski, Airport Authority chairman and Jeff Wheeland, chairman of the Lycoming County Commissioners, termed the airport, “Lycoming County’s front porch.” They said it was travelers’ first impression of the county; therefore it was very important to give a good first impression and make things seem very inviting. They said they believe that the present facility does not do that and instead gives the impression of an area on the decline and not growing into the future.

“The authority is committed to accelerating this much needed project on the fast track by launching an immediate search for an engineering and architectural firm to design this project. We hope to begin design of this project within the next two months,” Murawski said. “I don’t believe that money availability is going to be a barrier for this project. The money will be found for this because it is such an important project.”

All officials who spoke at the announcement of the project emphasized the view that the airport was a key engine in the economic development of not only Lycoming County but northcentral Pennsylvania as a whole.

Murawski said the airport’s economic impact on the county is about $50 million a year. He said a new terminal facility will also greatly aid airport officials’ efforts in recruiting additional air carriers and passenger air service to the airport.

Jason Fink, executive vice president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and head of the chamber’s Industrial Properties Corporation, said the upgrade that the new project entails will be critical in assisting in the effort to recruit new industries to Lycoming County.

“I think the new terminal building will also be helpful in helping to support the Marcellus Shale development and the industries associated with it,” Fink said.

Dave Frey, marketing director for the Williamsport Regional Airport, said the airport project will be a good way to help prevent the “leakage” of air passengers from this area who choose to use other airports such as State College, Wilkes Barre/ Scranton and Harrisburg.”

“The authority is committed to accelerating this much needed project on the fast track by launching an immediate search for an engineering and architectural firm to design this project. We hope to begin design of this project within the next two months,” Murawski said. “I don’t believe that money availability is going to be a barrier for this project. The money will be found for this because it is such an important project.”

All officials who spoke at the announcement of the project emphasized the view that the airport was a key engine in the economic development of not only Lycoming County but northcentral Pennsylvania as a whole.

Murawski said the airport’s economic impact on the county is about $50 million a year. He said a new terminal facility will also greatly aid airport officials’ efforts in recruiting additional air carriers and passenger air service to the airport.

Jason Fink, executive vice president of the Williamsport/Lycoming Chamber of Commerce and head of the chamber’s Industrial Properties Corporation, said the upgrade that the new project entails will be critical in assisting in the effort to recruit new industries to Lycoming County.

“We had a study done that showed about a 69 percent leakage rate and interestingly, 52 percent of that was U.S. Air customers,” Frey said. “We are hoping by having an upgraded facility we can become much more inviting to potential new air carriers as well as enticing U.S. Air to expand its number of existing flights in and out of here. This is a very important and necessary project and we think that it will yield many positive dividends”

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