Everyone is invited to take part in community meetings about the future of the Bellingham International Airport from noon-1:30 p.m. and from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, April 19. Both meetings will be in the Harbor Center Conference Room, 1801 Roeder Avenue. The meetings will include the same information.
The Port of Bellingham is working with community members, aviation experts and business leaders in drafting an updated Airport Master Plan. Work began in 2011 with a countywide airport opinion survey and a plan is expected to be considered by the port’s Board of Commissioners near the end of 2012. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires airports to regularly update their master plans to ensure that each airport is forecasting future passenger levels and anticipating future infrastructure needs.
The meetings on April 19 will begin with a half-hour presentation, which will be 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 Bellingham International Airport has experienced significant growth in the last several years and the port is seeking community input about the future of the airport. In 2004 the airport had 80,000 outbound passengers and that number exceeded 500,000 passengers in 2011.
This planning process helps the port plan for infrastructure needs in the future and can also be used to anticipate the need for future airport noise studies or other analysis. Already the port has completed the rehabilitation of the runway (2010) and construction of a new 20,000 square foot passenger gate holding area (2011). This year Port Commissioners approved a $17 million construction project with Dawson Construction for the second phase of the terminal expansion, which will not be complete until the fall of 2013. This new project will include baggage carrousels and a larger ticketing and baggage check-in area.
In addition to the April 19 community meetings, the Port Commission, in their regular 3 p.m., Tuesday, April 17, meeting will receive an update on the master planning process. 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.
There will be additional public meetings and a public hearing during 2012. For master plan project information go to: www.portofbellingham.com/BLImasterplan
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