Augusta Regional Airport is a small municipal airport, situated around six miles (10km) south of the City of Augusta in Georgia, USA. The airport’s business has increased over the last few years and a major expansion project was completed in 2008 in the hope of attracting passengers away from Columbia and Atlanta airports.

The airport is located on a 1,411-acre site and is a publicly owned facility managed and operated on behalf of the City of Augusta.
Augusta Regional Airport has two runways, perpendicular to one another (17/35: 8,001ft × 150ft (2,439m × 46m) and 8/26: 6,002ft × 150ft (1,829m × 46m)). The main runway 17/35 is used for 95% of all flights but runway 8/26 is used when there is a strong crosswind.

Before the recent renovation project started, there was some controversy over a plan to build the new terminal in a mid-field position, effectively on top of the crosswind runway. This was not well received by some, who believed that safety would suffer.

In 2006 there were 140,987 enplanements, which increased to 160,103 in 2007. Passenger numbers were 276,380 in 2006, rising to 316,752 in 2007. Between 2007 and 2009, the number of passengers increased by 25%. In 2009, the airport recorded passenger traffic of 399,077, an increase of 12% from 2008.

The passenger traffic in 2011 was 541,843, an 8.8% rise over the previous year.

Augusta master plan

In 2002, it was decided that Augusta Airport needed to be expanded and reconfigured in order to remain competitive in the future. A master plan was developed by LPA Group Inc, which required the replacement of the old terminal with one of similar size and very little further expansion.

By the time funding had become available to start the project, the original master plan had been voted down by the Augusta Aviation Commission and a new one had been commissioned from aviation consultants Black and Veatch.

This new plan called for a new expanded terminal building on a mid-field site, new parking areas and entrance roads, and the construction of a second 6,000ft parallel runway to partner 17/35, requiring the purchase of additional land. The entire project was estimated to cost over $100m and proceeded in phases.

Augusta terminal construction

The construction of the new terminal building began in 2005 on the footprint of the old terminal, with funds available from federal sources, airport funds, passenger facility charge and also an airport revenue bond issue (funds required were $30m).

With the new terminal building and associated airport facilities being the priority of the plan, the crosswind runway has been left alone and is still in operation particularly for light aircraft. It will, however, be replaced with a new parallel runway when additional funds are available.

"In 2002 it was decided that Augusta Airport needed to be expanded and reconfigured."

Phase one of the project involved the construction of a new concourse, which was completed in early 2006, and then formed the basis of the temporary facilities in conjunction with existing hold rooms. The south hold room became the ticketing area, while the north hold room was turned into the baggage claim area.

Phase two started in early 2006 and involved the demolition of the existing terminal building and the completion of temporary facilities.

Phase three comprised the construction of the new terminal building, which was completed by June 2007. The fourth phase of construction began in October 2007 and included the upgrade of the main terminal and airline gate area by eliminating all temporary facilities and installing landscaping.

The new airport terminal building was opened on 9 December 2007, despite not being completely finished. The walkway from the main building to the hold room initially had plywood walls and an unfinished floor and ceiling. The demolition of the temporary buildings was thereby started, following which the landscaping on either side of the concourse walkway was finished.

Augusta airport facilities

New facilities include a new car rental facility, which can accommodate up to five companies in addition to Thrifty Car Rental, its first tenant. The baggage claim area has two baggage belts and is situated adjacent to the car rental facility.

The airport has a new core area on the first floor, which serves as a check-in quarter complete with e-ticket kiosks, automatic check-in facilities and security / baggage screening, in addition to food concessions for passengers. Most of the airport’s interior fittings were carried out by Bonitz Construction of Columbia.

The main contractor for the construction of the terminal building was McKnight Construction. The subcontractors for terminal construction included Augusta Fire Protection, Barnett Southern (for site work and civils), J&B Construction (steel construction work), Sack Electric and Thompson Demolition (demolition of temporary buildings and old terminal).

Augusta airport runway project

"Augusta Airport has a new core area on the first floor which serves as an area for checking in."

A safety project was undertaken on the main runway (17/35) in April 2007 by Beam Contracting to comply with new Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) certification standards relating to overrun at the departure end of the runway. The project aimed to improve safety by providing a small extension / buffer zone. The main runway restoration was completed in January 2012.

Additionally, in July 2007, the medium approach lighting system was replaced with runway alignment indicator lights, another FAA project. For the duration of the lighting replacement project, 1,000ft of the runway was out of action.

Federal funding

Augusta Regional Airport executive director Kenneth J Kraemer said the airport received $2,390,549 for the development of an environmental overview, runway 17-35 lighting rehabilitation and a PAPI project, general aviation apron project, and various security projects from the FAA.

Augusta airport capital improvements

The hangar 1 roof replacement was completed in 2008. The airport also launched a rental car service site programme and improvements were made to the terminal area in the same year.

In 2009, the AGS constructed a canopy walkway from the terminal to the access road.

Parking

The parking at the airport currently includes over 400 long-term parking spaces and 230 short-term spaces, in addition to a further 150 overflow lot spaces. The long term parking lot was opened in June 2012. The construction of second phase of the parking lots added 210 short-term parking spaces and a parking lot for returning rental cars.

The airport currently has 1,026 passenger car parking spaces in total.