Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport board planning long-term improvements

April 13, 2017

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport
Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport

Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport officials are working on long-term plans to expand the terminal in stages over the next several decades.

The plans include expansion of both concourses in a U shape along with expansion of the gates, terminal rotunda, baggage claims, security, arrivals and departures lobbies, administration, operations and support areas on both the land and air sides of the terminal, according to Ryk Dunkelberg, a consultant with Mead & Hunt. The consulting firm is creating the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport Sustainability Management Plan.

“That would finish out the terminal area development for the next 30 or 40 or 50 years,” Dunkelberg said.

The process is in the planning stage, and design hasn’t yet started. The projects have been prioritized, but it could be subject to change based on the high amount of traffic the airport has been seeing.

“Remember, this is just a planning snapshot, and what it’s really based on is enplanements and your enplanements don’t meet the norm so things could happen quicker than what we have programmed here,” Dunkleberg said.

Enplanements, or the number of passengers flying out of the airport, have been running about double compared to estimates, said Scott VanLaningham, executive director of the airport. The airport reported 45,455 enplanements in February, up from 43,334 in February 2016.

READ MORE in the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette