Portland International Jetport is asking for city approval to spend more than $500,000 to design projects that would expand parking and relocate administrative offices to make way for more new amenities officials say are needed to keep up with an increase in passengers.

The City Council on Monday will consider a request to appropriate $545,000 for the design of the projects, which would expand surface parking to keep up with record growth at the jetport. Officials also want to relocate the jetport’s administrative offices to a different spot in the terminal to accommodate the addition of concessions, restrooms and a passenger lounge.

Director Paul Bradbury said the jetport has seen record growth of 17 percent over the past two years, with 2.175 million passengers estimated to have visited in 2019. With an annual economic impact of over $1 billion to the local economy, the jetport now provides nonstop service to 23 destinations on nine airlines.

With those increases comes demand for both more parking, restrooms and concessions, Bradbury said. Airport quality surveys also show passengers feel the jetport is missing the frequent flyer lounges commonly seen at other airports. Those lounges allow passengers to relax or work away from the busy concourse while waiting for flights.

“At the end of the day, we want to make sure passengers have a better experience at their local airport,” Bradbury said.

Lynn Tillotson, president and CEO of Visit Portland, said as travelers choose the Portland jetport over airports in Boston or Manchester, it’s important to keep up with the standards of the industry.

“People are finally looking at the jetport as a viable option instead of just a small little airport,” she said. “We’re seeing compliments from passengers saying ‘Wow, this is such a beautiful airport and we had no idea.'”

Bradbury said the long-term plan at the jetport has been to move the administrative offices to a space above the baggage claim area, then shift the Transportation Security Administration to the empty administrative office space. That will allow the space currently being used by TSA to be transformed into additional bathrooms, concessions and the frequent flyer lounge.

Jetport officials would also like to add around 200 surface lot parking spaces to keep up with peak demand from February to April. There are no plans to add additional spots to the jetport parking garage. The jetport currently has more than 2,500 parking spots.

Bradbury said the cost of the projects will be determined during the design phase and will ultimately need to be approved by the City Council. He is hoping the surface parking will be added during the upcoming construction season and be ready for use by March 2021. He estimates the work inside the jetport will take about 24 months.


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