Port of Bellingham has approved a $17m terminal expansion at Bellingham International Airport in Washington, US.
The contract for the construction of a 60,000ft² section with a modern baggage claim area has been awarded to Dawson Construction, which will begin work in March 2012.
The airport's existing baggage claim area was built many years ago during the time when Bellingham was served by small commuter-sized variety aircraft, currently not able to meet the passenger growth.
The new baggage claim area will feature two carousels, bringing Bellingham airport's facilities closer in line with larger air hubs.
The project will also include the expansion of the ticketing and baggage check-in area and will assign more space for passenger security screening.
Port of Bellingham project engineer, Adam Fulton, told the Bellingham Herald that Dawson had offered the lowest bid of six contractors, with a final bid that was about 15% below estimates.
The project will primarily be funded by a $4.50 facilities charge added to airline tickets, meaning that passengers who use the terminal will bear the brunt of the cost.
Fulton said the expansion will be completed in autumn 2013, at which point the terminal will be around three times larger than it was two years ago.
A $7.5m 20,000ft² expansion of the gate lobby was completed in summer 2011.
In 2011 the airport served more than 500,000 departing passengers for the first time, and with Frontier Airlines' planned launch of a new service to Denver, passenger numbers are expected to rise again in 2012.