The St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Thursday began the process of updating MidAmerica Airport's master plan.
Commissioners approved initiating the consultant selection process. An estimated cost for a consultant was not included in airport documents.
The plan was last updated in 2009, according airport documents.
“Since the 2009 master plan update, significant changes have occurred in commercial passenger service at BLV,” a memo to commissioners said.
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The 2009 master plan recommended a 25,000 square foot expansion of the passenger terminal by 2019 when 246,000 passenger boardings are expected.
Even though 246,000 passenger boardings in a year isn’t likely in the next few years, airport documents said during the peak travel times, the number of passengers will be more than the expected activity level associated with a 25,000-square-foot expansion.
“We’ll max out casual movement that we can have in the passenger terminal during our 25-flights a week,” said Airport Director Tim Cantwell.
flying out of the airport “will likely exceed” the passenger loads expected with a 25,000 square foot expansion.
With the addition of Allegiant Air flights to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and Fort Lauderdale, Florida beginning in May, MidAmerica expects to have 66.7 percent more seats on flights in May when compared to May 2016. The airport projects 26.8 percent seats passengers in June and 20.8 percent more seats in July when compared to the same months in 2016.
The number of passengers added at the airport is correlating with the number of seats being added, Cantwell said.
“The minute we get a bird there, our population is willing to fill it,” said Commissioner Jim Nations.
“The focus of this master plan update will be to determine demand/capacity requirements for the passenger terminal and recommend development alternatives to accommodate the expected capacity shortfalls in the terminal and surrounding environment,” airport documents said. “The Master Plan will define a phased plan for accommodated passenger growth at all aspects of the airport, but most specifically in and around the passenger terminal.”
A consultant for the master plan is expected to be chosen in April, with the first phase of the master plan completed by December. The second phase, which would include the hiring of an architect for design work, would be completed by August 2018, according to airport documents.
Commissioners also approved spending up to $8,800 with Crawford, Murphy and Tilly, an Illinois-based consulting firm, to design passenger terminal updates. The airport had planned to carry the project out last year, but bids came in higher than expected. The FAA approved re-bidding the project.
CMT will update the plans for the terminal improvements.