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You’ve been upgraded: Augusta air travelers start using newly built features at airport

In World
May 18, 2024

Augusta Regional Airport’s new expansion extends the terminal just a few feet further onto the tarmac, but it goes a long way toward growing the community, area leaders said Friday.

Giving the airport an extra 2,000 square feet doesn’t sound like “a ton of space, but it’s actually extremely important what we’ve done in this particular project,” said Herbert Judon, the airport’s executive director, on Friday before the ceremonial ribbon-cutting opening the addition.

About 90% of the project was paid through a $3 million federal funding allocation in the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

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For decades, the United States has trailed our major international competitors in “quality and safety infrastructure,” said U.S. Sen John Ossoff, who helped craft the enacted legislation.

“Smaller cities and rural areas have been neglected while the lion’s share of investment has gone to the largest cities in the country. We saw the opportunity to change that,” Ossoff said to the gathered Augusta audience. “We saw the opportunity to unite the country. We saw the opportunity to upgrade quality of life and build the foundations for commerce and growth.”

Guest speakers delivered remarks while standing at a threshold where the original terminal ended with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking one of the runways between departure/arrival gates 3 and 4.

Augusta-themed murals decorate either side of the new carpeted Gate 4 passenger bridge as it extends back to the terminal at Augusta Regional Airport, Friday, May 17, 2024.

Augusta-themed murals decorate either side of the new carpeted Gate 4 passenger bridge as it extends back to the terminal at Augusta Regional Airport, Friday, May 17, 2024.

Today the windows look out on upfitted boarding bridges at gates that were increasingly unused even though the $30 million terminal building opened just 16 years ago.

In 2008, Judon said “the airline fleets were a little bit different. A lot of the regional carriers had propeller ‘prop’ planes, and so when this terminal was built the concept was to actually walk outside and walk on the tarmac and access the plane through stairs.”

Safety and logistical reasons rendered that boarding method increasingly obsolete. The $3 million in federal funding reconfigured that end of the terminal to accommodate two new, carpeted passenger bridges that can connect with more conventional passenger jetliners.

The new-gates ceremony comes just two days after Ossoff’s and U.S. Sen Raphael Warnock’s offices announced that the airport would receive more than $2.6 million in funding through the Fiscal Year 2024 Airport Infrastructure Grant.

That money is expected to help fund the extension of water and sewer lines to property north of the airport to accommodate future commercial tenants.

This article originally appeared on Augusta Chronicle: Upgraded gates at Augusta Regional Airport ease, expand air travel

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