Tallahassee Airport Gets You in Out of the Rain

Thanks to new bridges, airline passengers won't have to weather the wind and rain when boarding or getting off planes at the airport.

Tallahassee Regional Airport has them covered.

On Tuesday, passengers flying into and out of the Tallahassee airport were met with one of two new passenger-boarding bridges designed to fit regional jets.

The second one should be ready for service by the end of this month.

"It's great. It keeps people out of the weather," said Michael Clow, the airport's capital program administrator.

The bridges cost $275,000 each and are made by Dallas-based ThyssenKrupp Airport Systems. They were delivered to the airport in February and assembled over a four-week period. Airline and airport personnel were then trained on how to operate them.

The bridges come at a time when passenger traffic numbers continue to increase at the airport.

Last month, the airport set a record with a total of 89,685 passengers, compared with 86,578 for February last year.

January numbers showed a similar trend. In January of this year, 84,504 passengers came through Tallahassee Regional Airport. That was 1,167 more than in January 2004.

The new bridge gives the airport eight boarding bridges. Over the next few months, the six older ones will be refurbished, getting new paint jobs and carpets. They will also be retrofitted for regional jets, which make up nearly all of the Tallahassee's airport fleet.

A company in Louisiana is already working on three of them.

Once finished, the bridges will be be able to move lower to the ground and attach directly to the jets.

Fixing up the older bridges will cost about $1.3 million, said Clow, who hopes to have them all spruced up by May.

So where's the money coming from for these improvements? A state grant and from the $4.50 passenger facility charge that you see on your airline ticket.