The new terminal at Indianapolis International Airport is less than two years old, but expansion is already in its future.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority has spent $1.3 million on a consulting team to map out a development and growth plan for the next 30 years,
"We now have one of the best facilities in terms of airports in the country, if not the world, but where do we go from here?" asked Indianapolis Airport Authority CFO Marsha Stone.
A key component considered is air passenger growth, which is expected to increase from 3.8 million in 2009 to 7.2 million in 2040, said Berta Fernandez, executive vice president of the consulting group, Landrum and Brown.
"Over time it is a moderate rate of growth year-by-year," she said. "But over time, it all adds up and it's quite a lot more passengers at the airport."
The expected growth could require a third parallel runway south of Interstate 70.
The plan also preserves land to allow FedEx to grow.
The consultant group has yet to discuss what will become of the old terminal, but one idea is to turn this area into a so-called aerotropolis, an airport city that would include air commerce-type businesses, as well as hotels, retail and entertainment facilities.
"An aerotropolis stripped to its basics is an airport-integrated economic region," said John Kasarda, a professor of management and director of the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina.
The group is expected to wrap up its study by the end of the year.
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The new terminal complex will be a mirror image of the landside terminal and four operating airsides that celebrated their 35th anniversary this month.