Renovated terminal welcome at SBIA

Passenger airports, even prospective passenger airports, need a suitable terminal. And since that key component has been missing from San Bernardino International Airport, airport officials last month OK'd a $38 million modernization project to help lure airlines, and passengers.

It's a sign of progress for both San Bernardino, and the region. The San Bernardino airport will take on growing importance as the Los Angeles and Ontario airports reach capacity. Developing major passenger airline service is one of the four goals of the airport board, along with air cargo, general aviation and aviation-related business.

Just last week, the airport secured a major fixed-base operator, Million Air Interlink, to perform those services for general aviation and executive jets. The well-respected operator is expected to increase the airport's heft in the industry. It should be in operation by the time the terminal opens.

The existing terminal, built in 1943, was remodeled in the late 1990s but became obsolete after the 9/11 terrorist attacks posed security issues.

The renovation, which follows the $31 million runway reconstruction project completed in late 2005, will feature a substantial redesign, as well as the addition of a two-story, 17,000-square-foot concourse at the rear of the terminal, which will allow convenient loading and unloading of passengers through air-conditioned walkways and jet bridges.

The terminal project will bring the building into compliance with post-9/11 Transportation Security Administration and Federal Aviation Administration strictures.

The revamped terminal should be open for business by summer 2008, in time for vacation travelers.

San Bernardino Mayor Pat Morris, who is president of the airport board, has held out hope that the airport will see passenger service within the next two years. And while, to nonbelievers, it has seemed like a pie-in-the-sky proposal, the creation of a modern, fully outfitted terminal should help propel the dream into reality.

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