By Melissa Gaona
Roanoke Regional Airport announced details about renovations today and where the money is coming from.
Renovations will cost about $4 million and workers say they’ve been putting aside money for the project for the past year.
There are three phases, and the first phase started last week with a focus on the concourse.
The executive director says none of the cost will come from taxpayers.
Jacqueline Shuck, executive director says the money will be funded by the airport and passengers. “The airlines are not participating directly in this project whatsoever. We have the ability to add capital projects to their rates and charges but we chose, very definitely in this case, not to do that,” explained Shuck.
Here’s a list of where the funds will come from: Parking, terminal tenants and concessions, passenger airlines, aviation grants, cargo carriers and non-operating revenue.
All of the construction is expected to be finished by 2014.
The Roanoke Regional Airport Commission has released findings from 2011-2012 research, conducted by Roanoke based agency Access Advertising & Public Relations, undertaken to better understand public perception of the airport and its service to the region.
Research findings demonstrate that in Southwest Virginia, communities overwhelmingly view Roanoke Regional Airport (ROA) as an asset and feel strongly that it is important to the future of their communities.
However, there continues to be a definite desire for more flight and fare options.
Research consisted of one-on-one conversations with more than 50 regional business leaders, and a survey of a random sampling of 807 people throughout the airport’s service area.
According to Jacqueline Shuck, executive director for the Airport Commission, the research also revealed that the Airport Commission could do more to engage directly with its constituents and educate them about key differences between airport and airline business decisions.
In order to do exactly that, the Commission is launching its Taking the Region to New Heights marketing and awareness initiative, which will focus heavily on community engagement and outreach.
ROA local observations closely mirrored national findings, which found that cost concerns account for nearly one-third of frustrations expressed by passengers, and concerns about reliability account for nearly one-fifth of frustrations.
The misperceptions related to airport responsibility continued at the national level, as between 20 percent and 47 percent of respondents nationally placed blame on airports for airline and vendor-related issues, such as lack of flight options, cancelled or delay flights, lost or mishandled baggage, long lines at security checkpoints and being stuck on the tarmac.
The Taking the Region to New Heights campaign, also created by Access and set to launch in early 2013, will emphasize direct communication with the airport’s key audiences, both business and consumer.
Messaging will emphasize the airport’s advocacy for the region to the airlines and its economic contributions of nearly $225 billion annually, and will also promote and encourage an ongoing dialogue with constituents.
The campaign comes at a time when ROA is investing nearly $4.1 million in a multiphase renovation project, which will address many of the needed improvements identified by survey participant comments, including enhancing accessibility and the in-airport experience, and ultimately improving concessions.
ROA is the primary air carrier airport for Southwest Virginia.
ROA moves over 625,000 passengers per year via four airlines with nonstop service to nine cities and with one-stop service to over 500 cities worldwide.
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