The projected 2-1/2 year wait for a new airport terminal may be more stressful than first thought.
A second look at the forecast for air passengers in 2012 indicates numbers could grow beyond the original 200,000 projection to 250,000 passengers for the year, a consultant told the Minot City Council's Airport Committee Monday.
The city and its consultant, Kadrmas, Lee & Jackson, have a new $40 million terminal on the fast-track and are aiming opening by late 2014. The airport will need to find room for passengers in the existing terminal until then.
Andrew Solsvig, airport director, said he is working with airlines to stagger flights to avoid terminal over-crowding. The airport also plans to make additional property available for parking, which possibly could provide close to 1,200 spaces by this fall rather than the current 900. If that remains inadequate, the airport may have to look into shuttling, Solsvig said.
The new terminal, which will be three times the size of the existing facility, will include parking for 1,500 vehicles. The city has applied for $20 million in federal assistance for terminal construction, and consultants have stated that the income analysis at the airport shows an ability to pay for the local share of the project.
The airport committee voted to recommend the council negotiate with car rental companies to include a Customer Facility Charge on rentals in their lease agreements. Projections are that the rental fees could generate between $7 million and $10 million for the airport over 20 years.
It will be five years before Minot International Airport sees full completion of planned improvements to the commercial aviation area. The overall cost is estimated at $98 million, which includes the terminal and eventual construction of a new Federal Aviation Administration tower. Construction on a new apron and taxiway to eventually will serve the new terminal will start this summer.