FWA needs to plan on building a whole new terminal as they have land space to accomodate it. Something on the lines of what Springfield MO, Bloomigton, IL or Fayetttville, AR did.
Not really. There’s still room in the current terminal complex for growth. True, the FWACAA could build a new midfield terminal near the Aero Center and the land reserved for a future fourth runway. But we have to remember that when IND built their current terminal complex, only half of the $1 billion cost was the actual terminal. The rest was infrastructure to support it such as new access roads, new parking garages, a new control tower, a new fire station, and such.
And new terminals don’t always serve air service problems. Just go across the state line to Michigan. AZO made the massive mistake of building a new, much bigger terminal to lure more service that opened months before Direct Air collapsed. To this day, no one has launched replacement nonstop leisure service from AZO, though UA added AZO-ORD to compete with AA. MBS has long been nicknamed “Dow Chemical International” because everyone else flew from FNT. A new terminal was built, G4 left, and everyone else shrank.
If FWA chose to do an IND-esque midfield terminal on a small-airport scale, they would have to spend at least $200 million, probably $300 million. This expansion of the existing terminal is $35 million and solves the core problems - gate spacing, passenger amenities, and baggage systems. And let’s not forget the airlines. A big reason is gate spacing. 60% of AA flights from FWA are now on CRJ-700s, and DL is rapidly moving FWA service to the CRJ-900, plus there’s real potential for UA to add E175 flights to DEN that would also feed OO MX. Let’s not forget how G4 is an all-A320 family airline and still has room to grow - hence why the revamp has 4 mainline gates and 5 gates for “mainline light” RJs like the E2 and the future Mitsubishi SpaceJet. And OO has both on order. They will probably want to fix them in FWA. By comparison, today’s FWA was designed for four SF340-sized turboprops and four F100s/DC-9s at a time. Today, the minimum plane used is a CRJ-200, and most of those flights are switching or have switched to CRJ-700/900s. The larger wingspan of the CRJ-700/900 plus G4’s Airbus use means that FWA is often an eight-gate airport with only six gates open (gates 1 and 3 being blocked).
Keeping the airport affordable for tenants is another issue. The cost per enplanement at FWA today is similar to large surrounding airports like IND, DTW, and such, and less than Chicago airports. If you built a $300 million new terminal at a time when it isn’t and won’t be needed, tripling the cost per enplanement in the process from $8 to $24, I guarantee you that G4 would leave FWA and no other ULCC would come in. This expansion ensures that FWA can remain competitive in CPE while fixing the core problems that make the terminal inefficient. As for parking: the FWACAA owns some of the land that surrounding buildings on Ferguson Road sit on. They can always bulldoze them and turn them into additional parking. They also own the Brookwood Golf Club (but don’t manage it), which could be turned into a remote lot.
And I’m surprised no one else has noticed this, but there’s a sterile connector from the future new Gate 1 to an FIS. Me thinks that G4 wants to start Mexico from FWA in addition to SBN. Doesn’t surprise me because G4 continues to grow at both airports.
B721/722/731/732/733/735/73G/738/739/742/752/753/762/763, A300/319/320, DC-9/10, MD-82/83/88/90, ERJ-140/145, CRJ-200/700, Q200, SF340, AS350