In the Ozarks, A New Front Door

Replacement terminal matches capacity with demand; expedites passenger travel

“Payments of 1.5 times what is required means we are maintaining a 50 percent debt coverage ­— a very key point for the airport board,” says Cyr.

The airport board, which acts as an independent body and is appointed by the city manager and confirmed by council, signs all contracts and leases, as well as plans, develops, operates, and maintains future airport properties. The city council accepts federal grants, relates Cyr.

“So we always have half of that debt service in the bank each year, should we need that. That’s our capital improvement money, because we have entitlements tied up in the debt service passenger facility charge,” he says.

“We are an enterprise fund, which means what we generate and make here pays for operational expenses, maintenance, upkeep, and capital development.”

Leasing; servicing
According to director Cyr, the new facility is paid for by the users of the facility, whether its from hangar leases, general aviation fuel sales, car rental, parking, retail, etc.

“We have an escalating clause for landing fees, and exclusive use rents,” says Cyr. “The airlines moved from the old terminal to the new without any increase in rents, rates, or fees; they have known for three years what their rates would be for last year, this year, and next year.

“Traditionally we have owned the jet bridges, and the carriers simply lease space. We are not carrying this development on the backs of the airlines”

Springfield National offers a modified residual lease structure to airlines. Landing fees are around $1.07 per 1,000 lbs. and exclusive use space is priced at $33 per square foot.

“We have certain cost factors,” says Cyr, “and what’s remaining, the airlines combine to cover those particular costs. That’s how these facilities have operated since the late ‘40s. We strive to provide a good financial environment for the carriers to do business with us.”

Airline leases at SGF are renewed on an annual basis. Explains Cyr, “The days of three- and five-year leases have pretty much gone by the wayside. Even today, with an annual lease, airlines have been coming and going at airports across the country on a regular basis.”

Springfield-Branson also offers services to airlines that many airports do not: ground handling and fuel services.

In with the new
Construction of the Midfield Terminal was a near three-year process; the facility opened to the public on May 6. The new building currently utilizes ten gates, but is designed to provide up to 45 gates. The total site will be able to handle 60 gates by way of a satellite arm. “The facility was designed to be expanded without substantially affecting any airport operations,” says Cyr.

The great hall area of the terminal, which includes the ticket counters, baggage claim, and rental car booths, have a European airport flavor. That flavor is represented by the hall’s spaciousness and double-loaded stand-alone ticket counters.

The entire terminal, from end to end, or parking to concourse gate, is one level. Terminal designers eliminated the need for passenger stairs, elevators, or escalators in an effort to make the facilities more accessible and easier to use.

The latest technology in regards to communication and security has been installed in the new terminal. “We have created efficiencies for the TSA by installing one central screening checkpoint for passengers; it is capable of being expanded upon,” says Cyr.

“Within the electrical and climate control systems, we tried to incorporate as much of the latest most efficient technologies available to us. Building new provided the opportunity to purchase products which were more environmentally sustainable, with longer product life-cycles.”

The building’s high efficiency air conditioning uses ozone-friendly water chillers, and the air handling systems use economizers which allow 100 percent outdoor air as an alternative cooling source when temperatures are mild. Also, high performance glazing on the glass walls coupled with light roof colors minimize heat absorption.

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