Car Rentals Relocated, New Parking System on the Way at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport

Dec. 9, 2020

Dec. 8—Visitors looking to rent a car at Arnold Palmer Regional Airport no longer need to go downstairs at the terminal.

The rental counter was relocated to the terminal's main level, next to the baggage claim, to make way for an expanded passenger holding area that is under construction.

The new rental area is "a little more compact, but it's extremely convenient for the customers, and it looks nice," said Gabe Monzo, executive director of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority, which operates the airport in Unity.

Monzo told authority members at the board's virtual Tuesday meeting that prospective renters now can "look out the door and see what kind of cars they have available."

Monzo said he's hopeful work on the expanded holding area can be completed in early January, along with a new ticketing system for those parking in the lot closest to the terminal.

All those who park in one of the 250 spaces will receive a ticket through an access control system to be installed by Signature Control Systems, under a $97,515 contract approved through a state bidding program.

Monzo explained there will be no charge for parking there during the day, to patronize DeNunzio's Italian Chophouse or conduct other business at the terminal. There will be a charge of $10 per day for "preferred overnight parking" in the lot.

Free overnight parking will continue to be offered in lots farther away from the terminal, Monzo stressed. "We have a thousand free spots," he said.

The authority discussed the new parking system in March, but priorities shifted with the arrival of the covid-19 pandemic, which triggered a sharp drop in flight bookings across the air travel industry.

Just under 9,900 passengers of the airport's sole commercial carrier, Spirit Airlines, passed through the terminal in November. That's up from October's passenger total of 8,020 but less than half of the 22,156 passengers in November 2019.

Looking ahead to a hoped-for end of the pandemic and recovery of flight bookings, and with the recent addition of a second passenger boarding bridge, the authority is expanding the secured holding area for passengers from about 200 seats to 300 seats.

"That's almost a plane-full of extra people," authority Chairman Paul Puleo said of the expansion. "This is great forward thinking, along with the fact you've expanded the runway and made it safer."

Authority engineer Scott Kunselman reported work on widening the runway from 100 feet to 150 feet is 99% complete, and it is in use. Related taxiway improvements are slated for spring.

The authority also approved a five-year agreement with CS&E Co. to maintain the terminal's HVAC systems, which are being updated. The company will be paid $19,100 in the first year, followed by annual 3% increases.

Jeff Himler is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jeff at 724-836-6622, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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