Construction on the first phase of the Gerald R Ford International Airport’s (GFIA) Gateway Transformation Project (GTP) concluded on September 27 with a ribbon-cutting celebration with sponsors, tenants, airport staff, and dignitaries. The event recognised project sponsors and tenant partners for their support of the project, believed to be the largest of its kind of any airport in the country.
“The key to this entire project is partnerships, we really could not have done this without the support of our airline partners, TSA, tenants, concessionaires, staff, and our tremendous sponsors,” said GFIA President and CEO Jim Gill. “How many airports in the country can say they asked their community to support a project like this, and that community came through?
“We have an exceptional, philanthropic spirit here in West Michigan, and that is now showcased through our gateway to the world.”
The first phase of the GTP included a consolidated passenger security checkpoint which centralised and combined security screening to one main checkpoint in the airport, eliminating separate screening for passengers traveling through either Concourse A or B.
New finishes include terrazzo flooring, lighting fixtures, toilets, nursing rooms, family restrooms, pre-and post-security kids play areas, pre- and post security business centres and meet and greet space.
“For four straight years we have seen record passenger growth, and we are on pace to make it a fifth. We saw a need to make improvements for the passengers, and to continue to deliver top-notch customer service and amenities,” said GFIA Board Chairman Roger Morgan. “We are committed to being West Michigan’s gateway to the world. We want people to step off the plane and know they’re in West Michigan.”
A second phase, which will include improvements to the airline ticketing, baggage screening, and baggage claim areas, is currently in the design phase. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2018 with the total cost of the entire project said to be $45 million.
Of the $45 million project, over $17 million was raised through sponsorships, with the remainder of the support coming from airport funds and passenger facility charges.