The Friday edition of the Springfield paper printed a letter to the editor from a gentleman who believes the new midfield terminal is not needed.
His point-of-view is understandable. At first blush the business of running an airport is simple and straight forward. But beneath the surface it’s anything but...
The current terminal was built in 1964 and has had at least five significant additions. Over the years it has served well, but has reached its limits—especially in its abilities to handle security, plane parking and passenger numbers.
Expanding the terminal was given lots of thought, but a study concluded that it would actually be cheaper to build a new one. Why? The current facility is landlocked. Major industry sits to the east. Taxiways and runways sit to the west. Expanding to the south and north would rob the private aviation community of space and would end up making the terminal longer (from north to south) and less functional.
These are difficult concepts to explain—not because they can’t be understood, but because they are out of sight and unknown to airport customers. It helps to be here, behind the scenes, standing on the apron, witnessing aircraft operations at six in the morning, to see that the terminal is not up to the task. You have to stand in the baggage screening rooms, watching screeners do their vital work in cramped conditions, while the sheer volume of baggage grows from year to year. You have to witness our staggering passenger growth and know that the capacity of the current terminal is about a million people a year—a number we’ll probably reach within five years. The new terminal will be done just in time.
In this business you have to look to the future and act now. If you don’t, you’ll be criticized later for doing nothing.
Besides providing a great airport, one of the best things we can do for our customers is provide information. The goal of the blog is to provide answers and transparency. So please, ask away. We'll do our best provide straight and meaningful answers.