Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport in Tompkins County, New York, US, is undergoing a $24.7m expansion to be transformed into an international airport by the end of 2019.

Owned by Tompkins County, the airport has witnessed a steady increase in passenger traffic during recent years, with the number of arrivals increasing from 96,000 in 2017 to 101,000 in 2018. Cargo movements increased by 9% year-on-year.

The expansion programme aims to address rising demand and enhance passenger travel experience by expanding the terminal by 50% and adding new passenger amenities.

The expansion of the airport is planned to be developed in three phases and is slated to be completed by the end of 2019.

Construction began with a groundbreaking ceremony that took place in October 2018. Phase one was completed in the second quarter of 2019, while phase two is currently underway.

Financing for Ithaca Tompkins airport expansion

Ithaca Tompkins airport expansion project is being financed through $14.2m of funding by the New York State Government as part of the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition.

The US Federal Government is funding $10.2m, whereas Tompkins County is providing the remaining $260,000.

The airport will receive $1.5m from the New York Government under the State Aviation Capital Grant Program to construct a new shared vehicle and aircraft fuel facility.

Ithaca Tompkins airport expansion details

Terminal area will be expanded under the project, which also includes the addition of a new US Customs and Border Protection building, passenger amenities such as modern waiting areas, and commercial spaces for post-security dining facilities. The main entrance of the terminal will be upgraded with 1,700ft² of space.

The terminal will be expanded by 6,000ft² on the east side. It will feature reconfigured office spaces and an expanded baggage screening space. Three new bridges will be constructed to allow passengers to board jet aircraft and other services easily.

Existing ticketing counters will be expanded to provide more queuing space for passengers. Wireless connectivity services at the airport will be renovated and the waiting area will be equipped with modern charging ports.

“The new customs facility will be directly connected to the terminal to relieve international passengers of US customs clearance at other airports before arriving at Ithaca.”

Security at the airport will be strengthened with the upgrade of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) baggage screening facilities to comply with the standards set following the 9/11 attacks on 11 September 2001. Waiting time at security screening will be reduced with an additional lane and the passenger hold room will be expanded.

The new customs facility will be directly connected to the terminal to relieve international passengers of US customs clearance at other airports before arriving at Ithaca. The customs facility is expected to serve more than 22,000 international passengers a year.

Sustainable features of the airport will be enhanced with the terminal parking lot, which will be covered with a solar canopy, and by installing a new geothermal water-source heat pump system, which will reduce natural gas usage at the airport.

Contractors involved

Streeter Associates was awarded the contract for the construction of phase two in March 2019. It involves renovation and expansion of the passenger screening checkpoint of the departure lounge and the terminal’s gate area.

Ithaca Tompkins airport background and existing facilities

Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is has an area of 501 acres and was initially opened in 1948 by Cornell University. The airport was acquired by Tompkins County in 1956.

The airport features a 33,000ft² terminal offering services to both domestic and international passengers. Other facilities at the airport include two runways, a hangar, taxiways, and parking facilities.

Designated as 14/32 and 15/33, the runways are surfaced respectively with asphalt and turf. Runway 14/32 has a length of 6,977ft and width of 150ft, while runway 15/33 is shorter with a length of 2,018ft and width of 50ft.