Airport Expansion Right on Schedule - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/21/05

Airport Expansion Right on Schedule

It's been nearly a year since the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport launched a massive expansion project.

Limos lined the airport's main thoroughfare Sunday morning, just one sign of how South Mississippi's economy has been taking off in recent years. The airport is using a $26-million dollar expansion project to keep up with the rising tide.

"It's certainly an exciting time for economic development on the coast, and the airport is a major economic contributor to that growth, so we're accomodating our passengers and expanding our facilities to meet that demand over the next several years," said airport spokesman Ken Spirito.

Spirito says the expansion is right on schedule. Terminal rennovations are underway on the north side of the airport. "We have to expand the front of the building 30 feet, so what we had to do is relocate our ground transportation a little bit to the north, and funnel our passengers through the construction into the building."

There's also work underway on the South side of the airport. Construction has  begun on what will become a holding room and retail concession center. "The retail concession center will be located beyond the security check point in the center of the terminal building, so all the passengers that pass through security, can shop while they wait for their airplane," Spirito said.

Airport officials admit the construction has posed some minor inconveniences...but say most passengers seem to be taking the airport's growing pains in stride. 

The airport will also be offering non-stop flights to Toronto next month. There will be two flights a week, on Thursdays and Sundays. That service is scheduled to become available on March 20. As for the airport expansion, it's slated to wrap up in Spring of 2006.

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