Gulfport-Biloxi Airport Terminal Has Later Renovation Completion Date

The $50 million expansion was pushed back because of Hurricane Katrina, which caused considerable damage to the airport.


The renovations to the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport terminal are back on track, though the completion date has been set back to late this year.

"It looks like fall-winter '06," said Bruce Frallic, executive director of the airport. It initially was expected to be finished by the summer.

The $50 million expansion was pushed back because of Hurricane Katrina, which caused considerable damage to the airport. The first two months after Katrina were spent on recovery projects for the airport and the contractor.

Because of the hurricane, some $60 million in federal funding through the FAA's Airport Improvement Program is being made available to help the airport recover.

That money will be used for four projects: terminal recovery ($20 million), general aviation ($12 million), cargo ($26 million) and a rental car operation ($2.4 million). All the projects will be finished by the fall of 2007.

But the most high-profile of the projects - at least for passengers - is the terminal project. It's being expanded from 96,000 square feet to 165,000 square feet. Frallic said the new terminal will be more resistent to hurricanes.

When the terminal project is finished, the eight gates will increase the capacity of the airport so it can handle 1.8 million passengers a year. It currently can handle 800,000 to 900,000 passengers.

Hurricane Katrina made a huge dent in the airport's passenger count. By the end of 2005 the number of passengers was down 11 percent from the previous year. Frallic expects 2006 will be about even or slightly lower, partly because of the hit the tourism industry took.

The hurricane also has been reflected in the changing mix of passengers. Prior to the hurricane, 55 percent of passengers were taking a flight for business. Now it's 95 percent, said Frallic.

Biloxi Sun Herald


Knight Ridder content Copyright 2005 provided via The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

News stories provided by third parties are not edited by "Site Publication" staff. For suggestions and comments, please click the Contact link at the bottom of this page.

We Recommend