OGDENSBURG – Significant improvements are needed at Ogdensburg International Airport if it is to remain competitive and attract passengers from the region, including Canada, according to the $ 20 million request submitted to the Department of Transportation of the State.
The funding request was submitted to the Northern State Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Initiative in September by Steven J. Lawrence, Executive Director of the Ogdensburg Bridge & Port Authority. The request is for the maximum amount of funding through the state initiative that made $ 250 million available for airport upgrades in upstate New York.
Improvements are needed for a multitude of reasons. The current terminal is cramped and there are not enough seats for the number of passengers entering and leaving the airport; there is only one gate for inbound and outbound flights, which contributes to congestion; there are few concessions for passengers who may need to be there for an extended period; and there is a lack of offices and storage space for airport officials.
The $ 20 million grant would eventually transform the airport.
“This project represents a unique opportunity to update OGS to create a better experience for passing passengers and at the same time create a new community gathering space that can be used for a variety of purposes,” said Mr. Lawrence. . “In doing so, this project may change the paradigm of how an airport terminal in a small community can be used to benefit more than just passengers passing through the facility. The success of this project may transform the way small airports in the upstate envision how best to grow in the future. “
Airport officials have seen the number of passengers increase exponentially and they believe this is a trend that will continue.
Mr Lawrence said passenger traffic is significant, despite a marked drop in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019, Mr. Lawrence said 22,438 passengers passed through Ogdensburg airport, code OGS. In 2020, 8,944 passed and until September of this year, the airport handled 16,333 passengers.
“The airport is currently too small for the number of passengers who pass through it each year. The spaces are cramped, there are not enough seats, there are few concession options and there is only one door for inbound and outbound flights, ”says the application. “To remain competitive, attract passengers from across the region, including those traveling to New York from Canada, and create a welcoming atmosphere for all who pass by, significant improvements must be made. This project will make OGS a key regional airport, help attract new airlines and flights to the airport, and ensure a positive and smooth passenger experience.
The current airport terminal was built in 1980 as an aircraft hangar and underwent extensive refurbishment in 2006, converting 65% of the facility to commercial service operations. In 2016, a 2,600 square foot addition was built for a dedicated terminal, making the entire footprint approximately 10,100 square feet.
“Based on comments from airport management and operations staff, the amount of terminal space is inadequate and there are concerns about the building’s ability to accommodate future growth. planned. The building, which is sized to handle only one flight at a time, is currently unable to accommodate existing service levels and during peak periods passengers must sit on the floor and most areas of the building are congested, ”says the application. “An assessment revealed that the terminal is expected to measure 41,275 square feet (square feet) to meet current needs and 58,975 square feet to meet future demand. The current 10,146 square foot facility is woefully short of that. The need for additional space has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The proposed project will ensure that passengers can get away safely and will not be in crowded interior areas while they wait to fly. “
The project would radically transform the current terminal in all its aspects.
The application states that “the design of the space will be innovative and energy efficient, create operational efficiencies and use design themes that reflect the uniqueness of the communities of St. Lawrence County and Ogdensburg. The updates will create a new gateway to the north of the country that is both welcoming and impressive. “
Upon arrival at the airport, passengers will be dropped off under an extended awning to protect themselves from the elements. The curb for disembarking and collecting will be lengthened to allow better flow of traffic. Passengers can then walk through a courtyard with a seating area with tables, chairs and planters before entering the building.
“This new open and relaxing space will set the tone when passengers enter the terminal building and provide space for passengers waiting for ground transportation,” the app says.
Once inside, passengers would find an expanded lobby with enough space for check-in, ticketing and baggage drop-off.
Beyond the lobby on the right, passengers will go through an expanded TSA security checkpoint. A dedicated “redial” area will exist beyond the checkpoint so that passengers can collect their belongings without feeling rushed. After collecting their personal items, passengers can wait in an enlarged hold room that allows them to relax before a full flight.
New toilets will be added after the TSA checkpoint to avoid long lines before boarding.
The concession area will be expanded to allow passengers to cool off while they wait.
Behind the hall and the waiting room, the operational space will be increased with more office space, two break rooms and storage space.
An enlarged baggage storage area will allow more efficient screening of baggage and its loading on planes.
“All of these improvements will improve the experience of departing passengers, as well as the efficiency of airport operations,” according to the app.
The app says passengers on arriving flights will be met on the other side of the building.
“The renovated apron entrance will create a welcoming and impressive gateway to the north of the country for visitors. The facade of the building will be taller, with new modern signage welcoming passengers to Ogdensburg, ”it read.
Entering through a large glass entrance, passengers will be in the new large hall where they will be greeted by an enlarged baggage claim area to the right, allowing them to collect their bags easily and quickly. A new awning will be built on the outer parts of the luggage belt to avoid maintenance issues and weather-related delays.
“This update will allow people to wait for their luggage in a much larger space, so that they are not crammed into a small, dimly lit space with other passengers,” the app says. “Passengers can then exit through the aforementioned lobby or large courtyard room to access ground transportation.”
One of the key aspects of the project is the addition of a “big room” which can be used by the airport during times of heavy traffic and by the community when not needed for airport operations.
“The Great Hall will transform OGS and increase its appeal for business and private travel. It will also provide much needed new community space in Ogdensburg, which currently lacks large civic spaces, ”the app says.
The large room will be modular, easily divisible with partitions, even allowing the possibility that half of the room directly connected to the terminal is used by the airport while the other half can be used simultaneously for community events.
In addition to the great room, the addition will include a new conference room, restrooms, kitchen, storage space and space for fire protection, janitorial services, information technology, mechanics and electricity. A separate entrance will be available so that private events do not interfere with airport operations.
“The authority believes this project will stimulate economic development in upstate New York, promote growth at OGS, create a welcoming space for visitors, and provide Ogdensburg with new community space.” Arriving at the new OGS will provide a warm welcome to travelers, creating a positive first impression and a unique gateway experience to upstate New York, ”said Mr. Lawrence.
If the OBPA receives the $ 20 million grant, additional funding would be required as the costs have been estimated at $ 21.7 million, according to Lawrence.