SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – The General Aviation terminal at the Springfield-Branson National Airport is getting an upgrade, in its first major expansion since its inception in 1990.
The General Aviation area caters to private and corporate aircraft owners while providing fueling, restrooms and lounging. After renovations are complete, GA customers will have more space to roam and will notice more amenities during their stop in Springfield. The 33-year-old building will receive updated bathrooms, an expansion of the administrative area, a pilot lounge and large community room.
The project is expected to cost $6.7 million, with Nabholz Construction out of Springfield in charge of the renovations. Springfield-Branson Airport spokesman Kent Boyd says the airport will foot the bill with its own funding.
Boyd says the current building is too small for the airport’s recent growth, and workers have no way to see when planes are arriving.
“It looks tired; it’s too small,” Boyd said. “When I say too small, I mean the people who work there literally can’t fit in the building. The people who service airplanes are literally stuck in a trailer right now.”
Construction began Monday, when crews erected a construction wall through the middle of the GA building’s main lobby. Boyd says one side of the wall will stay open to the public, while the other side will contain the remodel.
Boyd told The Heartlander celebrities, sports teams and corporations come through the airport on a regular basis, with some having talked about setting up shop inside the city. Boyd believes it is critical to make an exceptional first impression to keep them coming back to the Queen City.
The spokesman estimates renovations will be complete in 12 months.
“Trying to nail down dates on this sort of thing is very much a losing proposition. As soon as you say something is going to happen on a certain date, something will happen that will delay it. But it will probably be done by July of next year.”
The Springfield-Branson National Airport saw 1 million fliers in 2022, which is up 14% since 2021. Airport officials predict this year’s tally could be 10-15% higher than last year’s total, calling for even more expansion.
Undoubtedly, the next major project will be additional parking.
“We’ve had a hard time in the last decade keeping up with parking demand. We grew so fast up to the pandemic and then everything business-wise went down. Before the pandemic, we were running out of parking places for airline passengers. At some point in 2017 or 2018, people were having to park in the grass. We expanded the lot, and as soon as we opened the expansion, the pandemic happened.”
Boyd says 1,000 new parking spaces were created before the pandemic, but those spots are filling up more quickly than usual.
“That tells us if this transit passenger growth continues, in three or four years we’re gonna run out of parking again. We are starting preliminary planning for building a parking garage, which will be located on the west side of the terminal where the rental car lots currently are.”
To keep up with the airport’s renovations, visit the website.