The past two years have been recording setting for the Elmira Corning Regional Airport as more and more passengers take to the skies out of Big Flats. So to meet the growing demand, a few upgrades are necessary. Our Bill Mich tells us about the busy year ahead at the airport.
BIG FLATS, N.Y. -- So far in 2012, passenger numbers at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport are up 3 percent from 2011 and that number is expected to rise.
"We have another direct flight to JFK starting in June so that's going to bring in that many more passengers. So, 2010 was a record year, 2011 was a record year and I am certain 2012 will be a record year as well," said Ann Crook, the Chemung County Director of Aviation.
In order to meet that growing demand, the airport is in need of some upgrades. Last holiday season, the parking lot was filled 200 cars over capacity so its time for some more spaces.
"Obviously we need 200 more spots just for right now, plus we are still growing, so I'm estimating that we need 500 to 700 more spots by this coming Christmas," said Crook.
Inside the airport there are going to be upgrades to the bathrooms that are scheduled to start as early as May and look to be finished by mid-summer. And the final big project is the extension of the main runway. The nearly $10 million project will extend the runway to 8,000 feet total allowing larger jets and airlines access to the region.
"Definitely shows, demonstrates to the airlines that we're creating the facility that's ready for them and will meet their needs. We've designed this whole project so that it will be done and ready to go by the NASCAR race. First weekend in August so we make sure we've got full facility, full runway length, all the improvements ready to go by then," Crook said.
With big improvements allowing for even more passengers to fly out of the Southern Tier, the Elmira Corning Regional Airport could be breaking its own records for years to come.