Port announces April 19 public meetings surrounding the future of Bellingham International Airport

The Port of Bellingham is holding two public meetings on the future of the Bellingham International Airport on Thursday, April 19.

The first meeting will be from noon to 1:30 p.m., and the second will be from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Both meetings will include the same information, and both will be held at the Harbor Center Conference Room, 1801 Roeder Ave. in Bellingham.

The port has been working with community members, aviation experts and business leaders to draft an updated airport master plan.

Work began in 2011 with a countywide airport opinion survey, and a final plan should be brought to the the port’s board of commissioners near the end of 2012.

The April 19 meetings will begin with a half-hour presentation, followed by an open house where people can view additional information and can provide questions and comments about the airport and the planning process.

The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to regularly update their master plans to ensure that each airport is forecasting future passenger levels and anticipating future infrastructure needs.

In 2004, the airport had 80,000 outbound passengers. That number exceeded 500,000 passengers in 2011.

The port has already completed the rehabilitation of the airport’s runway and the construction of a new 20,000-square-foot passenger gate holding area.

This year, port commissioners approved a $17 million construction project with Dawson Construction for the second phase of the terminal expansion, which will be completed in fall 2013. The new addition will include baggage carrousels and a larger ticketing and baggage check-in area.

In addition to the  meetings, the Port Commission, will receive an update on the master planning process during their next meeting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17.

Later this spring, the port will consider a range of projected passenger levels for future years, and commissioners will work with the guidance of the FAA in choosing a passenger projection number that will be used to develop the master plan and determine what the airport facilities will require to meet the facility demands and impacts from airport growth.

For master plan project information, visit www.portofbellingham.com/BLImasterplan.


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