Airport looking to add concessions

Posted March 19, 2010, at 6:46 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor International Airport is moving forward with plans to add concessions past federal security checkpoints, something — outside of vending machines — that has never been offered at the airport.

In recent years, BIA has made several changes to its domestic terminal to increase amenities for passengers. Last year, it added bathrooms in the secure waiting area for the first time and upgraded seating. Free wireless Internet access also is now available, and the airport has added flat-screen televisions.

Airport Director Rebecca Hupp said when the time came recently to renew its contract with its primary caterer, officials thought it might be a good idea to expand concessions. The Bangor City Council’s airport committee approved the expansion after an executive session discussion last week, and the full council is expected to formally vote Monday.

“We’re still looking at how to implement it, and there are still security considerations that have to be made,” Hupp said. “But this is something passengers wanted.”

Provided the Transportation Security Administration approves BIA’s updated security plan, a stationary snack bar-coffee shop could open later this spring, she said.

Councilor Gerry Palmer, chairman of the newly resurrected airport committee, said any added amenities are good for BIA.

“If you go anywhere else, there are whole shopping malls past security,” he said. “Anything we can do to make it easier to use the airport.”

Also this week, BIA was approved to commission a market study that will examine how many potential passengers in the Bangor market are using other airports and why. The airport’s last market demand study was conducted in 2003, Hupp said.

“Our expectation is that we’ll find more leakage to other airports like Portland and that [passengers] are taking advantage of low-cost carriers [such as JetBlue and AirTran],” she said. “But this study will help fill in the details and better quantify the scope of what we’re dealing with.”

Palmer agreed that it was probably a good time to re-examine the market.

“We’re not the only airport around, but it’s important to understand those other markets,” he said. “We have a great infrastructure here that we would like to keep adding to if possible.”

The Boyd Group, a Colorado consulting firm, will conduct the market study, which is expected to take about two months to complete, according to Hupp.

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