Nearly six years after its conception, the $14 million terminal at the Central Nebraska Regional Airport is expected to open March 23, airport officials said.
Every year, CNRA sees about 60,000 passengers, and because of the need for a new terminal, the Federal Aviation Administration deemed the new terminal as necessary.
“The new terminal would be a new corridor into Grand Island for many people,” Hall County Airport Authority Executive Director Mike Olson said. “There’s going to be a ‘Wow’ factor in how elegant, how bright, high ceilings, we’ll have some local photographers with big prints on the walls, so it’s going to be a touch of local culture with a touch of elegance.”
The project received several grants, including one nearly $11 million grant from the FAA.
“That’s your hard-earned taxpayer dollars that are coming back to the community,” Olson said.”
It’s been a long time coming, but Olson said the new terminal will not only be bigger to accommodate more people, but it’ll also make getting to your flight easier and more comfortable with state of the art technology such as geothermal heating and cooling in the floor.
“The latest of technologies went into building this facility. Plus, a jet bridge to the terminal from the aircraft, so our passengers won’t have to brave the elements in the winter anymore,” Olson added.
Airport officials are hoping this new terminal will help draw more people into the city, which they say will greatly impact its economy.
“The investment that Central Nebraska Regional Airport is making is going to not only help us attract more businesses to the area, but we’re also hoping to get additional flights out of the area,” Grand Island Chamber of Commerce business partnership representative Michala Soundy said.
However, what’s most important is the growth of the city, and the Chamber of Commerce says it’ll likely attract more businesses.
“We have to always be looking forward. That’s part of what we’re doing everyday with the Grow Grand Island to make sure that people that live in this area are going to have a better community 5 year, 10 years, 20 years down the line for their families that they’re raising in the area,” Soundy said.
Now six years later, many employees at the airport are anticipating its opening.
“It’ll be nice to get it done, and more as a relief for the staff, too, because of the extra workload that we’ve had to do this,” Olson said. “I’m more excited for the people of Grand Island, the people of Hall County and of south central Nebraska, they’ll really be wowed.”
Airport officials expect the new terminal to open March 23.
In the future, they’re looking to have more flights going to Dallas, Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Orlando, Florida.