Bangor airport eyeing $10 million modernization for domestic terminal

Posted Feb. 13, 2013, at 5:38 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — Bangor International Airport is planning a $10 million overhaul of its antiquated domestic terminal in 2014, according to BIA Director Tony Caruso.

“The airport is looking at doing a terminal upgrade to the first floor of our domestic terminal,” with the goal of “improving customer experience and passenger flow,” Caruso said Wednesday morning.

The terminal hasn’t undergone any major renovations since the 1970s, he said.

Plans are in the “very preliminary” stages, but airline kiosks would be consolidated to the north end of the terminal, where the elevator and Delta counter are located, he said. The offices used by Bangor police and the Transportation Security Administration would be moved away from the main entrance to the south end of the terminal.

The redesign would bring more queuing space, an upgraded heating, ventilation and cooling system, improved lighting and a new elevator, Caruso said. Work could begin in February 2014, and would happen in stages, so as not to hinder service during part of the airport’s peak season.

Another aspect of the project is a consolidated in-line checked baggage screening system, funded by a $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Caruso said.

The other parts of the project would be funded largely through passenger facility charges, which airports raise by charging a nominal fee on each ticket sold, according to Caruso.

Caruso updated the city’s Airport Committee on the plans during a Tuesday night meeting. The committee gave Caruso the go-ahead to continue the design work, which is about 30 percent complete, he said.

When the design is about 75 percent complete, Caruso will go back to councilors for another update, but he said he isn’t sure when designs will reach that point. In the end, the council will need to approve the project, he said.

“We’ve been looking at doing a terminal upgrade for awhile now,” Caruso said. “We think that portion of the terminal certainly needs it.”

Caruso said the changes should create a more efficient experience for an increasing number of passengers.

BIA is “cautiously optimistic” about recent airport usage numbers. The airport saw a 7 percent increase in the number of passengers flying in and out of BIA in 2012 over the previous year. It was the best year since 2005, according to Caruso, but the finances of airlines and hikes in fuel prices make for a tenuous trend.

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