NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Money for new moving walkways as well as funds to plan for a terminal expansion and remodel are all a part of the Norfolk Airport Authority’s 2023-2024 budget plan.
The authority’s Board of Commissioners gave preliminary approval to the roughly $115 million annual budget Thursday.
The airport just concluded its busiest year in history with more than four million passengers served in 2022.
Mark Perryman, the airports executive director, said the increased demand on the airport infrastructure is one of the reasons he is recommending the facility see a refresh of the likes it hasn’t seen since opening in 1974.
The project, Perryman said, he has heard more questions about than any other is the status of moving walkways connecting the arrivals terminal/parking garage complex with the departures terminal building.
Moving walkways used to exist in the space but were removed in 2017. Now, a newer model will be back and in place next Summer according to Perryman. The design and installation will cost $6 million, with a majority of the funds coming from Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Terminals Program.
Construction for two much larger projects that will change the travel experience will still be several years down the road but money for planning is included this year.
In December, Perryman announced the airport was looking to add seven gates to concourse A. However, after consultation with airlines, Perryman said it was decided to scale down the project.
“They didn’t think we were quite ready for that many yet,” Perryman said.
So instead, the airport is looking to spend $28 million to extend concourse A and add three gates. Construction could start as early as the first of next year and wrap up by early 2025.
The largest project surrounds the core of the terminal building.
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.
Plans also call for consolidating the ticketing lobby, bag check, bag inspection system in order to remove the entrances from both sides of the building. Instead, everyone would enter from the main access road. It’s estimated that work could cost $260 million with construction not starting until late next year.
While federal tax dollars are used to help run the airport, no local tax money is a part of the airport’s budget. In fact, the airport pays the City of Norfolk $2.65 million a year to lease the land.
The majority of the airport’s revenues come from parking fees. It’s estimated the airport will take in $23.5 million in the next fiscal year.
The budget’s final adoption could come in May after the airlines have had a chance to weigh in.
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