Burlington, VT – Today, Mayor Miro Weinberger and Senator Patrick Leahy announced that the Burlington International Airport (BTV) has received a $14.5 million federal grant to expand the Airport’s terminal building and consolidate the two existing security checkpoints into one, which will significantly improve the Airport’s efficiency and traveler experience.
“A successful local Airport is essential for the economic health of our city and region, and that’s why my Administration has worked hard to steward and improve the Burlington International Airport over the past nine years,” said Mayor Miro Weinberger. “Now, this major federal award will enable us to build on our recent successes and make transformative improvements to the traveling experience at BTV. I’m grateful to Senator Patrick Leahy for his enduring advocacy for Vermont, to our entire federal delegation, and to our talented Airport team for shepherding this vision.”
“This federal investment positions the Burlington Airport for long term growth and is a major win for Vermont travelers,” said Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). “With the pandemic still ongoing I realize for most Vermonters the idea of boarding a plane seems like something that is still a far way off. Thanks to the leadership of Mayor Weinberger and his team I can say with confidence that when air travelers return to the skies for vacations and business trips, Burlington Airport will be here, much improved and stronger than ever.” As Vice Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Leahy worked to ensure the needs of small-hub airports like Burlington were prioritized within Federal Aviation Administration funds.
The grant comes from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Supplemental Airport Improvement Program, and will cover 90 percent of the cost for engineering, design, and construction. The remaining 10 percent local match will be funded through the Airport’s passenger facility charges.
Construction is anticipated to begin by July 2021 and continue for 12-18 months. At its January 19, 2021 meeting, the Burlington City Council unanimously approved the Airport’s acceptance of the grant if it was awarded, and contracts with Jacobs Engineering Group for design assistance and construction inspection related services, and Engelberth Construction for design and construction services.
Terminal Integration Project Will Deliver Transformative Improvement
This project, which is known as the Terminal Integration Project, will deliver a transformative improvement to the traveling experience at BTV. The project will expand the existing Airport terminal into a second story, adding approximately 26,240 square feet of new, finished floor space, five TSA screening lanes on the first floor, and an expanded queuing area for TSA screening.
This additional space will allow the Airport to address a number of priorities, including:
· Consolidating the two existing security checkpoints into one, which will create greater consistency and efficiency for departing passengers;
· Creating a more direct route between the North and South concourses, which will address longstanding passenger confusion about how to travel between the concourses and improve passenger circulation throughout the terminal building;
· Relieving congestion during peak periods; and
· Providing a framework for additional terminal enhancement projects and expansion in the future, as identified in BTV’s draft Airport Master Plan Update.
“This project is the cornerstone of the Airport’s future,” said Gene Richards, Director of Aviation at the Airport. “The TIP will bring long-term opportunity and continued safety enhancements for both the public and the TSA agents who work hard every day to ensure our nation’s safety. This work would not be possible without Senator Leahy and his team, who continuously support the local economy and traveling public in our region. With this project, we are ensuring BTV’s success for years to come.”
“Today we embark on the next exciting chapter in our Airport’s storied history, one that is a win-win for our city, our community, our traveling public, and the future of our airport for years to come,” said Karen Paul, City Councilor for Ward 6. “Thanks to the strong assistance and enduring support from Senator Leahy and our congressional delegation, the City Council on January 19 unanimously approved the acceptance of the Airport Improvement Grant, a decision that affirms the Council’s support for continued innovation and modernization at BTV. The priorities of this significant $14.5 million improvement are efficiency and ease of use for our passengers that, combined with systems that will lessen fossil fuel use like the visionary work happening at Beta, are keeping BTV at the cutting edge of modern aviation technology. I am proud to be here today to join in this celebration, another milestone, another amazing achievement for our community with a heartfelt thanks to Director of Aviation Gene Richards and the entire Airport leadership.”
Terminal Integration Project Builds on Airport’s Recent Success
This new investment by the federal government will enable the Airport to build on its recent successes. While the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in impacts across the airline and travel industries, BTV has been well-positioned to weather this period, and prior to the pandemic had experienced years of stabilization and strengthening.
Over the last nine years, the City of Burlington has worked to steward the Airport following revelations in 2010 of serious financial mismanagement. This period has included credit ratings upgrades from both Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service, a steady increase in passengers and enplanements (prior to the Covid-19 pandemic), close partnership with airlines to add new routes with direct service, growth in operating revenues, new investments like the installation of a 500 kW solar array on the roof of Airport’s parking garage, and many other improvements. Further, in October 2020, the City announced the federal approval of the new BTV Sound Mitigation Program and a partnership with VGS to provide the local match and bring millions of dollars in federal soundproofing funds to the communities around the Airport.
“Burlington International Airport is crucial to the success of our region’s economy,” said Cathy Davis, President of the Lake Champlain Chamber. “The Airport allows our businesses to reach their clients and access new markets, it welcomes visitors who in turn support our local businesses, and it plays an important role in making our region such a great place to live.”
“I want to thank Mayor Weinberger and Senator Leahy for their work to make this project a reality and Gene Richards for his leadership at the airport,” said Kyle Clark, Founder of BETA. “This type of investment to modernize our airport is just what we need for companies like ours to start and grow here in Vermont. With community support, BETA is building electric aircraft with zero operational emissions and BTV is the ideal place for us. Burlington is a national leader as the first in the country to source its electricity from 100 percent renewable energy. We are excited for the future of BTV and what it will mean for our community.”