Progress. That’s what travelers coming through the Port of Pasco’s Tri-Cities Airport are already experiencing with the completion of Phase 1 of the $41.9 million airport expansion. The project is more than 50 percent complete and moving smoothly toward its projected finish in early 2017.
Since September, passengers have been using the new north concourse, which serves Gates 3, 4 and 5. It’s spacious, well designed for passenger comfort and ease in moving through the gates, and it serves as a wonderful welcome to visitors coming to our region. That’s the feedback we are getting from those who are enjoying the progress made on the expansion thus far.
Tri-Cities Airport has launched a new website that offers easy access to flight information, airport services and more at www.flytricities.com.
But there is more to come. Phase 2 is well under way. The old boarding concourse has been demolished and construction of a concourse area for Gates 1 and 2 has begun. Reconfiguring the front lobby, including relocating the staircase and elevator, is proceeding. Work continues on an enlarged restaurant, bar and gift shop inside the secure area of the terminal.
Once complete, the airport terminal will have doubled in size, passengers will have a gorgeous view through floor-to-ceiling windows in the expanded gallery area, and there will be a larger queuing area for passenger screening with the addition of more TSA lines. There will be more gates, which makes room for additional flight capacity to support the continued growth of the region, and there will be more dining options inside the secure area of the terminal, along with state-of-the-art amenities.
It’s all progress that we at the port are very proud of and know the community is as well. We also thank you for your patience throughout the construction.
Boardings break record
The expansion of the airport was designed with future growth in mind, and 2015 numbers supported that decision. Passenger boarding at the Tri-Cities Airport was up 6 percent, making last year the busiest year ever. December alone was up 15 percent.
This growth is a direct reflection of the strength of the Tri-Cities economy. There has also been the addition of more seat capacity through new flights and larger aircraft. It’s all progress.
Community support earns SCASD grant
Direct, daily flight service to the Los Angeles area has long been a target for additional service. Significant progress toward this goal was reached last year. The Tri-Cities Airport worked with the community to secure a $750,000 Small Community Air Service Development grant designed specifically to support this service. The community raised more than $300,000 in matching funds, well over the goal set to support the grant request.
Receiving the grant was the first step. We are now working alongside TRIDEC to meet with airline officials to recruit the service, something we would not have been able to do without such tremendous support of the community. We thank you. We believe that this flight service to Los Angeles will play an important role in the continued economic development efforts of the region.
Marketing the airport
Progress also means expanding our reach. For the first time, we are undertaking a marketing initiative. We’re starting by targeting travelers from the northeastern area of Oregon. We’ll follow that with marketing to underserved areas in Washington. We know that there is room for growth in this area, and we want these travelers to consider the Tri-Cities Airport their airport and their first choice.
New website launched
We live in a web-centered world, and the Tri-Cities Airport recently launched a new website that offers easy access to flight information, airport services and more. We invite you to visit the new site at www.flytricities.com. We’re also now on Facebook at Tri-Cities Airport-PSC.
Our vision and our commitment
As a port, we take seriously our role and responsibility in the stewardship of the Tri-Cities Airport as a regional asset. We are constantly working to meet our vision and our commitment:
▪ To travelers: to provide business and casual travelers with friendly, safe and efficient service that exceeds their expectations
▪ To the region: to provide our service area, which has a population of over 1.1 million, with convenient, gateway flight service that can reach anywhere in the world and become the airport of choice
▪ To innovate: to increase important air service, support vibrant business development, and create strategies to ensure financial stability
There’s plenty of work ahead, but we are pleased with the significant progress that we’ve made.