Legislators approve shuttle service for airport

The need for more parking is expected to grow as airlines flying in and out of the airport are expected to increase their air service this month, said Heins. That has also led to an increased focus on providing additional Transportation Security Administration checkpoints for the facility and, as a result, reduce congestion within the terminal.

According to County Administrator Michael E. Zurlo, the airport meets TSA criteria for a second checkpoint.

"The fact is the physical space needs to be expanded to allow for that, which would mean eliminating some of the walls and office space currently occupied by TSA," said Zurlo, adding airport manager Thomas D. Long has been in contact with TSA regarding the matter.

The county recently wrapped up a nearly year-long feasibility study that determined the projected number of passengers over the next 20 years warrants an expansion of the airport terminal and its services. The improvement project, recently approved by the Legislature, will expand the baggage carousel system, increase the number of TSA checkpoints from one to at least three, and increase the number of ticket counters from one to three, all by approximately 2013. The project would also add an additional jet bridge to help with the loading and unloading of passengers.

The study also revealed that the number of people who use the airport has grown steadily over the past three years. This year, more than 100,000 people are estimated to use the facility.

"Just in the months of January and February, we have already emplaned 20,000 people," said Heins. "That's a 42 percent increase over last year."

By the numbers

1,000,000 - the number of dollars that could be generated from parking fees per year at Plattsburgh International (more conservative estimates predict about $720,000)

59,000 - the number of dollars approximately already generated by parking fees, which range from $3 for economy parking to $5 for parking closest to the terminal

20,000 - the number of passengers on flights to and from Plattsburgh International during the months of January and February

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