Airport manager Kevin Bumen said construction should take 18 months to complete and cost $35.4 million.
“This is a tremendous milestone,” he said. “It will allow us to handle more frequent flights and larger aircraft and allow us to adapt more easily than we can now with greater comfort for the passengers.”
The existing terminal is about 40 years old and is too small to meet the needs of the airport, Bumen said. It also does not meet federal safety standards because it is too close to the runway.
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The new terminal will be built farther back from the runway near the Cal Fire station on the property. It is designed to easily accommodate additions as the airport grows.
Traffic at the airport dropped off in 2008 with the start of the recession but has rebounded. In 2014, the airport handled more than 152,000 passengers.
Also, during this same time, airlines have retired older, smaller aircraft and replaced them with larger regional jets. The new terminal is needed to accommodate this increased traffic, Bumen said.
Another beneficial feature of the project is that the majority of the cost will be paid for with Federal Aviation Administration grants. These outside funding sources will cover $32 million, or 90 percent of the cost.
“The level of federal funding has been amazing,” Bumen said.
The remaining 10 percent will be financed through a 30-year loan from the California Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank.
Over the past 15 years, the county has made multiple improvements at the airport totaling more than $17 million to get it ready for the new terminal. These include rebuilding the entry and exit roads and installation of a new aircraft parking apron.