The primary employer in the region is IBM, which employs some 7,500, but there are also several large institutions, including medical centers and universities, that provide customers for the airport, says McEwing. The passenger split is 60 percent leisure, 40 percent business.
Since 2000 some $24 million in renovations and expansion has been invested at Burlington. Most recently, the airport completed a $15 million expansion project which added five gates — four with boarding bridges — and customer service areas at the north end of the terminal, in addition to a 948-space parking garage and an elevated connected walkway.
Burlington is very much a ‘sense of place’ community, relates McEwing, so the airport design features maple and granite — products that are native to Vermont. “You get the feeling you’re in Vermont,” says McEwing.
The Dallas-based Atlantic Aviation chain provides primary fixed base operator services here. Among Burlington’s other tenants are Heritage Flight Services, a charter operator with some 13 aircraft; a Pratt & Whitney engine service facility; and a Vermont Air National Guard unit with F-16s and Army Guard with Blackhawk helicopters and an operational readiness center.
A new corporate aviation/cargo complex is being developed on the south end of airport property. According to Searles, the airport is filling in depressed acreage, creating 8.3 acres of new land that will be used for GA hangar construction and cargo facilities. The $106 million project encompasses some 28 acres.
“We’re creating a significant area for development,” Searles says. “By creating this new land, we’ll be able to designate a whole new area for general aviation.” DHL and Fedex currently operate out of Burlington, and Searles anticipates their activity will increase once the new area is operational. He says the project spent 12 years in the permitting process, and the effort included the purchase and mitigation of 50 acres of swamp land located some eight miles away from the airport.
The new five-year contract includes three Hudson travel essentials stores.