One of the largest city infrastructure projects currently underway is quickly reaching its end. A $52.2 million renovation at the Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport, including a brand new passenger concourse, opened for its first full day of operation on July 12, 2011.
“We’re down to putting the final pieces together,” Pat Rhodes, City of Amarillo Aviation Director, told the Amarillo Globe-News in January 2011.
Those pieces include:
- a 46,000 square foot passenger concourse with seven boarding gates. Six of the gates will be equipped with glass-walled boarding bridges.
- a new secure baggage handling system will remove all baggage screening activities from in front of the ticket counters. a new and larger security checkpoint.
- remodeled airline ticket counters and lobby.
- remodeled baggage area.
- updated graphics, signs and advertising throughout the entire complex.
More than 80% of the project’s cost was paid from FAA Airport Improvement Program Grant funds. City reserve funds and revenues collected through a passenger facility charge will make up the balance of the project cost.
The project started in March 2008. Now that flight operations have moved to the new concourse, demolition of the existing concourse will begin as will the final phase of work inside the existing main terminal, including moving airport administration offices.
“The new terminal and all the support facilities will make Amarillo’s airport one of the best of its size in the nation. It will make a great impression on the more than 800,000 passengers who use the airport each year,” Rhodes says.
A separate project to rehabilitate the 40-year-old roadway and bridge that provides vehicle access to the second-floor ticketing lobby began in February 2011. This project includes a new free parking lot for family, friends and colleagues waiting to pickup arriving passengers.
Additionally, the vehicle inspection point has been eliminated and with it, the 10- minute parking in front of the terminal. Instead, the parking areas in front of the terminal are now active loading and unloading zones.
Architects for the project are Shiver-Megert Associates of Amarillo, Texas. The general contractor is Western Builders of Amarillo with help from more than 40 specialty sub-contractors and vendors.
Four commercial airlines serve the airport- American Eagle, Continental Express, Southwest and United Express.
Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport features one of the nation’s longest runways (13,501 ft.) and is home to Bell Helicopter/Textron’s Military Aircraft Assembly Center, home to the new V-22 Osprey and upgrades to Cobra, Huey and Kiowa helicopters. The airport is only seven miles from downtown Amarillo.
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