Have questions about the new terminal? We’ve collected a number of frequently asked questions below.
1. What does the new passenger terminal building mean to the Great Lakes Bay Region? +
The opening of the new terminal is a major milestone for MBS International Airport and the Great Lakes Bay Region. The new terminal reflects a strong commitment on the part of area corporations and businesses, chambers of commerce, economic development groups and community leaders to maintain a vibrant MBS International Airport as our front door to the world for business and leisure travelers. Visitors to our area will be welcomed into a modern, attractive facility, creating a positive first impression of our region for customers, prospective investors, potential employees and vacationers.
We expect the state-of-the-art, energy-efficient facility will be a vital contributor to the economic vitality and quality of life of the region for decades to come. It also will serve as a source of pride for residents who live and work here.
2. How did the airport’s construction impact the local economy? +
Construction of the new airport terminal created hundreds of jobs and involved 12 general contractors – the majority of which were from the Great Lakes Bay Region. In addition, materials for the construction of the terminal also were locally sourced, whenever possible.
3. How did MBS decide to build a new terminal? +
The new terminal has been years in the planning. The project was first approved by the Airport Commission in December 2006, after it was determined that the old terminal building would be too difficult and costly to expand and remodel. Construction began in 2008.
The new terminal is designed to meet forecasted operational demands well into the 21st century. The old terminal building, which was opened in 1965, served the region well for several decades. However, beginning in 2005, two teams of experts reported that a major renovation of the existing terminal or construction of a new terminal would be required to bring MBS in line with current and future aviation requirements. Doing nothing was not an option. The steady demand for air service in our region required that MBS improve its terminal facilities.
4. How is it possible that the terminal is opening a year ahead of schedule? +
The MBS International Airport Commission was able to obtain funding for the project faster than anticipated. The construction budget was based on the airport’s needs and financial abilities, and the terminal’s construction was conducted in 14 phases as funding became available.
5. How was the new terminal project funded? +
Funding from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) made up about 70 percent of the total cost of the new terminal project. These dollars were federal funds generated by user fees. They did not come from the general fund and could only be used for aviation projects like the MBS terminal. Passenger facility charges generated through use of the current MBS facility made up about 7 percent of the funds needed for the new terminal building. The state of Michigan, which handles the distribution of the FAA funds to state airports, provided matching funds that covered 2.5 percent of the total project. The remaining funds were pledged by the MBS International Airport itself. Through fiscal responsibility and effective management, we extended the useful life of our current terminal building, set aside surplus revenues and remained debt-free. Our goal is to get the same lasting value from the new terminal building.
6. What part of the new terminal was paid for with local tax dollars? +
No local tax dollars have been utilized in funding or maintaining MBS International Airport.
7. Why was a new building chosen over a major renovation? +
Both consulting teams demonstrated that the new terminal building would be the more cost-effective option and would give MBS the opportunity to invest in a long-term versus short-term solution. The new terminal building is expected to meet the needs of our region for 40 to 50 years. Also, the construction of the new terminal building did not interfere with passenger service, whereas a renovation would have.
8. What is the contribution of MBS in our regional economy? +
Your airport is an economic engine that produces an annual regional impact estimated at more than $100 million annually, with the direct impact of jobs and property-related revenues of more than $50 million annually. A study by the Boyd Group, an aviation research and consulting group, found that MBS supports 293 direct job impacts and 676 indirect/induced job impacts and creates $23.8 million in wages and salaries annually. In addition, the report calculated the savings in time and cost to local users of MBS versus other airports at more than $7 million annually.
9. Is the new terminal “greener”? +
Yes. We designed the terminal to be extremely energy efficient and incorporated sustainable features wherever possible. Energy-saving design elements include the extensive use of natural light, low-flow faucets, efficient fixtures and triple-pane glass that also will help reduce noise.
10. What impact will the new terminal have on air service and air fares? +
The new terminal building is much more attractive and efficient for air carriers and other tenants of the airport, including car rental companies and concessions, which gives MBS an advantage in attracting and retaining the airport services our region needs and wants. However, the number and costs of flights from MBS will not be directly affected by the new terminal building. Both flights and fares are set by the airlines based on the size of the market served and other factors. The more people who choose to fly from MBS, the more likely that the number of flights will go up and the cost of tickets will go down. Similar to shopping center owners, the airport cannot and does not set the price of tickets, food or merchandise available at the airport.
11. Has food service at the airport improved? +
A key objective of the new terminal project was to improve airport services overall. The new terminal offers more concession options, with expanded offerings on both sides of security checkpoints and a new outdoor eating area.
12. Are we going to lose the comfort and convenience of our small airport? +
The ease and comfort that we enjoy at MBS International Airport were design requirements for the new terminal building. Convenient parking, easy access to the terminal and other comfort features will continue to be a part of the MBS experience. In fact, the airport improvement project included new access roads and new short-term, long-term, rental and employee parking.
13. What will happen to the old terminal building? +
Because of the condition of the structure, maintaining the building is impractical. Plans are to raze the old terminal and prepare the site for future aviation infrastructure.
14. What will happen to the Skyroom? +
The Skyroom will be operational through December 31, 2012.