Monday, September 10, 2012

Sacramento International Airport Plans for Expansion Despite Fewer ... - KTXL


Sacramento International Airport will get a new master plan for future expansion less than a year after a $1 billion facelift of its Terminal B.

The master plan will be created despite a drop in the number of passengers predicted in its current master plan.

That prediction was for a steady 3.5 percent increase in passenger traffic through 2020. But passenger levels peaked in 2006 at 10.8 billion. After trending downward the number of passengers stabilized at 8.85 billion in 2011.

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Airport officials said the projections were made in 2004 long before the recession, fuel prices and airline mergers put a dent in the number of travelers who fly.  The new numbers could hurt expansion efforts.

"The passenger forecast is the foundation for the FAA granting funds to the airport for major improvements," said Carl Mosher, Deputy Director for Planning for the Sacramento Airport System.

But officials remain optimistic that the numbers will pick up when the economy recovers. A hotel and a parking structure were deleted from the renovation when the economy tanked. Now, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors and airport officials are talking to a developer about building two mid-sized hotels near the terminals.

A major runway expansion and added taxi ways are also planned to accommodate an expected jump in international passenger and cargo  traffic.

"As the economy changes and goes up there will be more opportunity for more passengers,” said Mosher.

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