Airport moves forward with improvements

Albany County Airport Authority officials have moved forward on several rehabilitation and improvement efforts made possible by more than $9 million in federal and state funds.

The to-do list includes adding new touchdown lights to the Runway One approach, removing runway approach obstructions, including the relocation of a Buhrmaster Road home, acquiring land to expand airport noise overlays and adding new escalators in the terminal's security checkpoint.

Authority board members were presented with the design of the new escalators at their Monday, Aug. 6, meeting. The project is expected to cost more than $2 million. The money, which comes from the Federal Aviation Administration, will pay for the design and construction of two new escalators, bringing the total to four escalators serving the security checkpoint mezzanine and baggage claim and ticketing below.

The project will also include new electrical work and floors.

It's probably the most complicated project we've done, said John O'Donnell, Authority chief executive officer. 'The new project should hold up longer and have an improved maintenance life."

The new escalators follow recent improvements and expansion of terminal security checkpoints. Due to the high volume of passenger traffic, and moisture issues, the terrazzo floors have warped. The old floor and escalators lasted roughly 10 years, said O'Donnell. Airport officials hope to get 20 years out of the new flooring, wall treatments and escalators.

However, the high traffic flow also poses a problem during construction. The escalators serve as the sole access points to security, ticketing and baggage claim areas.

Work will be done in phases and during off hours at the airport, said O'Donnell.

News of the newest airport improvements at the meeting was overshadowed by a quarterly airport financial performance report by Authority chief financial officer J. Dwight Hadley that showed total revenues were down.

Although the six-month report is without July and August figures, the international airport's two busiest months, the numbers show a decrease compared to last year's figures.

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