The Durango-La Plata County Airport will break ground Thursday on a $1.6 million project to enhance the functionality of its 30-year-old terminal.
The project, expected to be completed Nov. 1, will center on renovation and expansion of 5,000 square feet of interior areas and will include the installation of a new baggage-conveyor system, updating and expanding airline offices and consolidation of the Transportation Security Administration baggage-screening operations.
The project will be paid for entirely through airport enterprise funds, which are fees and other charges the airport issues to its users, principally airlines, passengers and general aviation pilots. No tax dollars from the city of Durango or La Plata County budgets will be used to pay for the project.
“The airport has experienced a doubling of passenger traffic over the past 15 years,” said Director of Aviation Tony Vicari. “Forecasting continued long-term growth, we need to accommodate for more passengers, more staffing and more technology needs of the airlines.”
The project will be the largest upgrade to the terminal since it was built in 1988 and aims to enhance functionality of the terminal for passengers and the airlines and to create more space to rent to airport service providers.
Airport officials have sought to make strategic investments to upgrade the aging terminal since the November 2016 defeat of a proposal to issue $40.4 million in bonds to build a new terminal. The measure was rejected by a wide margin – 18,541 NO votes to 11,556 YES votes.
The terminal upgrade comes as the airport recently added about 4,500 square feet for a new baggage-handling facility. In addition, the airport remodeled the nonpublic airline ticket office areas to separate office functions from the garage functions.
Garage functions were moved to the new baggage-handling facility.
The terminal project will be managed by Jaynes Corp.
The airport, the primary regional airport in the Four Corners, handled 378,000 customers in 2018. It is serviced by American and United airlines with flights to Dallas-Fort Worth, Denver, Phoenix and seasonally to Houston, Los Angeles and Chicago.