NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — More gates, the creation of a central TSA checkpoint and the development of an airport hotel are all considered top priorities in Norfolk International Airport’s capital plan.

In his first “State of the Airport” address to the City Council, Mark Perryman, recently appointed executive director of the airport, said the airport is on track to complete its busiest year in history. In July a record for monthly travelers was set.

He also said that means the airport’s existing infrastructure is being taxed faster than initially planned. He said projects they initially hoped to complete in the next decade, need to be sped up.

“We need them now. Not 10 years, 12 years from now but now,” Perryman told City Council.

Perryman, who was appointed in May by the Norfolk Airport Authority, said some of the needed projects are already well into the planning stages, such as a $60 million runway rehabilitation project.

He said others, more noticeable to passengers, he hopes will be underway soon.

A rendering of what an expansion of concourse A at Norfolk International Airport could look like (Courtesy: City of Norfolk)

When Spirit Airlines begins flying to Norfolk in March, the 84-year-old airport will have eight major airlines. Perryman said that is now roughly the limit.

“We have very little flexibility to attract more aircraft, airlines even if we wanted to because we don’t have enough gates,” Perryman said, noting that gates have actually lost in the two concourse airport over the years.

“Part of this is due to the fact that our aircraft are larger than they were before and so we have more passengers per flight,” Perryman said.

Perryman said the plan calls for seven gates to be added at a redesigned and expanded concourse A. He also wants to set the stage for the possibility of adding international flights.

Currently, there are two TSA checkpoints, One for concourse A and another for concourse B. Those laid over waiting for a connecting flight are not able to go to the opposite concourse.

Perryman said they are looking at removing the Burger King, The Local, and Hudson News in the main lobby and consolidating the TSA there.

“Allowing us to seamlessly connect an international flight to a domestic flight,” Perryman said. “Which we can’t do today.”

Plans also call for consolidating the ticketing lobby to remove the entrances from both sides of the building. However, the proposal that might end up being the most notable change, is one that has nothing to do with flying.

A sketch of potential future developments to the Norfolk International Airport (Courtesy: City of Norfolk)

“We need an airport hotel,” Perryman said. “I can tell you we can sell this out on day one. There is that much demand for an airport hotel.”

Perryman said having a hotel on the property would prevent flight crews from having to book rooms downtown. It would also allow those who face canceled flights a place to stay.

Finally, Perryman said it would help the airport appeal to travelers who might be in the greater Hampton Roads region.

“Passengers that are catching that five o’clock in the morning, that are driving from Elizabeth City. Okay, drive up the night before, stay at the hotel. Makes your life so much easier,” Perryman said.

While the authority finances capital projects through a combination of revenues, bonds and federal and state grants, the hotel would be something financed completely by the developer Perryman said.

Perryman showed a sketch, that would place the 150-room hotel on the spot currently occupied by public parking outside the Southwest and Delta ticket counters. He anticipates parking would remain as the hotel could be built above it.

“We may not lose any parking except for short-term while the construction is going on,” Perryman said. “Then we can have a direct connect into the terminal so that the passengers never have to exit the building to check-in or check-out.”

An RFP for a hotel could come out in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, Perryman said he is moving ahead with plans for a movable walkway in order to allow for “shorter walking distances,” a longtime ask from customers. Vending machines are also going to be added to concourses.

Looking farther into the future, Perryman said the airport would still be looking to build a second long runway and a third concourse.