Arcata/Eureka Airport Expansion Kicking off in Ca.

The Humboldt County Aviation Division is gearing up to begin remodeling the Arcata/Eureka Airport Sept. 30, which is expected to offer major improvements to services for local and visiting fliers.

In July, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors awarded a contract to Mayan Construction to improve and expand the main passenger terminal. The project will add 10,000 square feet to the existing 37,000 square-foot terminal. This addition, combined with the redesign of the existing terminal, will improve the security waiting area, expand the baggage return section and streamline checked luggage security.

Other improvements include returning the second floor public area taken by the Transportation Security Administration to airport patrons and bring the terminal meet current building codes. Construction is expected to finish up in mid-2008.

"I'm excited to get started. This is the first major remodeling and expansion project for our nearly 25-year-old terminal," said Jacquelyn Hulsey, Humboldt County's airports manager. "The airport has had significant growth in passenger numbers in 25 years and the county needed to act now to ensure that the terminal adequately serves existing passenger levels with an eye on future passenger needs."

The passenger terminal is not the only project receiving attention at the airport. A second project to expand facilities for general aviation aircraft and local businesses, such as the existing air cargo services, is also under way.

This project will provide tie-down space for aircraft and hangars for local aviators. Over time, about 29 hangars will be constructed. This will include 17 "T-hangars" for small aircraft, four corporate hangars and eight executive hangars. These facilities will be developed through a combination of private and airport funding.

These two projects are part of an overall Airport Master Plan to improve facilities and increase airport usage. Recruitment of new air service from existing and new carriers is also being explored.

Airport and Redwood Economic Development Commission staffs are working as a team to approach the airlines in part of an ongoing effort to connect Humboldt County with new flight destinations.

The goal is to improve air service for both the business and pleasure travelers by increasing direct flight destinations. This air service recruitment project recently received funding approval from the Headwaters Fund Board.

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