The Akron-Canton Airport in Green is departing on a long and expensive flight that it hopes will land it squarely in the future, with a secured place as a major regional transportation hub.
The airport today (Feb. 25) is revealing its 20-year master plan that will guide officials through some $240 million worth of capital investments and other improvements.
“Our master plan began with three vital commitments — customer experience, low costs and airfield efficiency,” airport president and CEO Richard McQueen said in announcing the plan was complete.
The plan, which was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2015, will guide both short- and long-term development at the airport. That includes projects already underway, such as an expansion of ticketing facilities, improved parking, updated LED lighting and a redesign of the airport’s main entrance road and terminal loop.
The airport also is designing a new gate, which is expected to be built between 2017 and 2019.
The plan also calls for longer term projects, such as airfield and taxiway improvements, an inline baggage security system, additional gates, a new parking structure and general aviation land development, the airport said.
The airport competes with larger facilities, such as those in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and is often a low-cost, low-hassle alternative, especially for travelers closer to Akron.
Some of the improvements may help Akron-Canton gain some market share, but some are needed even to improve service for existing business.
“Some projects, which are currently underway, are necessary regardless of passenger demand,” McQueen added. “The parking lot enhancements, improved ticket wing and gate-replacement projects update important customer touch points, and provide a more relaxing experience. Other projects, like additional gates and building a parking structure, could be triggered by activity levels in the future. Our plan is flexible, sustainable and positions us for the future.”
The airport partnered with CHA Consulting, Environmental Design Group and others to lead the airport master plan. The study cost $1.8 million, took two years to complete and analyzed the airfield, terminal building, cargo facilities, general aviation parking and access, land use and environmental features, airport officials announced.
Airport officials said they expected more than 50 state, local and federal officials to attend today’s unveiling of the plan at the airport.