State’s 2 largest airports may get facelifts
Tuesday, March 29, 2005 - by Jeffrey Hope
Anchorage, Alaska - Gov. Frank Murkowski says a new plan will help support jobs in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. The governor is asking the Legislature to approve millions in bonds that would improve airports in the state's two biggest cities.
Engineering standards have changed since terminals A and B were built at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. The governor says that's part of why the airport needs an overhaul, so he's asking lawmakers to approve $288 million in new revenue bonds.
With its tall ceilings and yards of windows, Terminal C feels like a mini-stadium. Beside it, terminals A and B now look smaller and darker than they really are.
The governor wants to change that and is asking the Legislature to approve millions of dollars to get the job done. But it isn't all about a facelift. Since this part of the airport was built, earthquake codes have changed. Support columns are now considered small, and some building joints are no longer considered strong enough to handle the stress of a major earthquake.
The plan also calls for major changes to the baggage system. The long conveyor belt just outside Terminal B, built in the late 1960s, would most likely be replaced with a series of smaller conveyor belts.
The governor wants $91 million to upgrade the two terminals, which is far less than the $250 million it cost to renovate Terminal C -- a project that was delayed for months.
The governor can joke about it now. “We're gonna hold you to that figure, Mort,” he said to airport director Mort Plumb.
“Yes, sir,” Plumb replied.
“Oh right, that's fair enough,” the governor said.
Officials say they've learned from their mistakes. They say this time the airlines and the contractor will work together on both the design and any major changes.
“Like I said, we'll make some new mistakes, most likely,” said Kip Knudson, deputy commission of aviation. “But if cost overruns do occur, the airlines will be at the table advising as to what to do, whether to take it out of some other portion of the building or to actually sell more bonds. But they will be at the table this time.”
In all, the governor is asking for $288 million for improvements in both Anchorage and Fairbanks. Some of that will be matched with federal funds. And like other airport projects, the airlines will pay the bonds off and it will be up to each carrier individually to decide if that's a cost they'll pass on to the customer.
The bill was read Tuesday in Juneau and is already in a committee. Among lawmakers, there seems to be some support but also some healthy skepticism. Some said they didn’t want to be asked twice for more funding, as happened with Terminal C.
Rep. Ethan Berkowitz said he was glad the plans include money for noise abatement, since he represents some neighborhoods near the airport.
As far as federal funding, the airport generally does very well. With most construction projects, the state often pays 10 percent and the federal government 90 percent, but that doesn’t apply in every case. It will apply to some runway and taxiway issues included in the renovation plans, but not to all of the terminal renovations.
ANCFlyer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR: Reply 1, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago) and read 1825 times:
The A and B terminal at ANC could probably use new carpet - that's really about all . . . well, A Concourse, which has all of three gates and services 2-3 flights a day (more in the summer) could use a bar/snack bar thing. Otherwise, it's a waste of money.
And FAI gets pax service from AS and NW, and that's it. And there is already a decent bar/snack bar inside security there.
What they need to do is spend some of that money to build an enclosed walkway that is in/out of security between the North and South terminal at ANC.
As for our Governor and Mort Plumb being in charge of the project - well, it will be a fiasco. Plumb isn't the sharpest pencil in the school box and Frank the Bank has yet to fulfill a single campaign promise . . .
Ah well, your tax dollars at work my fellow Alaskans.
Of course the article really means concourse A, B and C in the south terminal. Not terminal A, B and C like they have it in the story. Don't know about anyone else, but I cringe when I see an airport concourse called a terminal – especially by media. Almost has a bad ring to it like bad grammar or something.
Spirtofalaska From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 192 posts, RR: 5 Reply 4, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1770 times:
Okay, they FOR SURE need to do some work in FAI. I go into the airport almost on a daily basis, to pick up our customers for Princess. And...sad to say, it sucks. There is NOTHING for passengers to eat/drink on the outside of security. its dirty, dingy. and...it just needs some work. ANC continues to grow, and get nicer, and fairbanks stays the same. HOPEFULLY ANC shares the wealth, and sends some money our way.
Chugach From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 1041 posts, RR: 2 Reply 5, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1766 times:
Interesting take, Spiritofalaska. I've been flying out of FAI for the last five years and always enjoyed it. If you don't check luggage, you can be off the plane and in your vehicle cruising down Airport Way within about five minutes.
However, I do agree that something, such as a coffee stand, would be nice on the outside of security. Maybe Mocha Dan needs to expand his empire to include the airport.
Also, they need to get rid of those vomit-orange plastic chairs.
SPIRTOFALASKA From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 192 posts, RR: 5 Reply 6, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 10 hours ago) and read 1724 times:
well, yeah, i agree i mean theres nothing WRONG with the airport, but as ANC continually expands, we stay the same. But I do think they should give us something. Mocha dans would be a nice thing. I just think we should have SOMETHING for passengers waiting. Specially if your flying Frontier, They won't let you past security ( so some of their passengers have told me ) So, your stuck downstairs with nothing to eat or drink. Anyway, IM not saying the airport is bad, BUT if there going to get some money, they deffiently could spend some of it up here.
FlyingNanook From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 830 posts, RR: 13 Reply 7, posted (8 years 8 months 2 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 1715 times:
All I can say is thank God. FAI is in need of some renovation. I remember looking at the FAI master plan a little while ago and it makes FAI sound like a death trap. Not earthquake-safe, jetways used as emergency exits (which airline personnel must open), old wiring, bad insulation....
Also, aesthetically, FAI could use a little sprucing up.