Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, surrounded by local officials, cut the ribbon Friday morning celebrating the completion of the $61.5 million modernization of the Elmira-Corning Regional Airport.
Hochul told a large audience the upgrades will increase terminal space and enhance the overall travel experience.
“The airport was small and outdated, but with these improvements it will offer green space and food and beverage options for passengers,” Hochul said. “The transformation of the airport continues our economic development efforts in the Southern Tier to boost the economy and attract more visitors to the area.”
Chemung County Executive Thomas J. Santulli agreed.
“No way in my wildest dreams when [Gov. Andrew Cuomo] chose Elmira-Corning Regional Airport to receive the funding in September 2016 did I expect this,” Santulli told the crowd. “I think we should take this and run with it and be proud. It’s the gateway to our community.”
Hochul said the newly renovated airport features a larger terminal, improved baggage handling, enhanced security, 300 additional parking spaces and new food and beverage options. The renovations also added a second jetway, reducing the need for passengers to walk across the tarmac.
Gov. Cuomo, in a written statement, said the completion of the $61.5 million project will transform the airport into a 21st-century gateway that will ease travel and promote economic opportunities for the entire Southern Tier.
“Airports are the front door to our regions and the new Elmira-Corning Regional Airport will spur economic growth and offer a state-of-the-art facility that appropriately welcomes visitors and residents alike,” Cuomo said. “There’s no second opportunity to make a first impression, and this revitalized airport will show visitors what the Southern Tier is all about as they explore all the tourism and recreational opportunities the region has to offer.”
Santulli said the airport upgrades will create an improved business climate.
“For those who think that you want to have a vibrant economy, you want to compete in today’s world, if you want to have a chance, you better have an airport to compete,” Santulli said. “Believe me, there is not an airport like this in a lot of major cities, cetainly not like this in areas our size. I can tell you our local business community — Corning Inc., and I’m not going to mention the whole list because I’ll leave somebody out, but when you look at the business climate here especially with Corning Inc., they love to see this type of facility to greet people.”
With the modernization complete, the terminal’s floor size has increased from 55,000 square feet to 88,000 square feet.
Cuomo said a Taste NY grab-and-go kiosk promotes New York’s food and beverage producers and provides travelers the opportunity to purchase locally-made snacks, coffee, tea and dairy products in addition to gift items like maple, honey and concord grape products. A brand-new Taste NY Bar, which will open in December, will serve a rotating selection of New York state craft beverages.
The airport now also features a new baggage claim belt to handle increased volume, as well as strengthened security measures, including state-of-the-art cameras, to better monitor passenger areas.
Three new courtyards, built with sustainable building and renewable energy technologies, showcase the local landscape. A post-security courtyard can be accessed while travelers wait to board, while another can be accessed through the pre-security restaurant, with a third viewable while picking up baggage and while en route to TSA lanes. Energy efficient lighting and programmable glass to display flight information and provide direction to travelers have also been installed.