Concord Regional Airport dedicated its new $12.6 million terminal complex this morning that planners say could triple the number of scheduled airline flights at the airport.
And Rick Cloutier, airport director, is in the hunt to add as many as four other carriers to Allegiant Air, now the airport’s sole scheduled-service provider. If his efforts work, he could fill the new terminal building with 30 flights a week, up from the current 10 flights a week.
The Concord Regional Airport's 32,000 square feet terminal was dedicated on Sept. 29.
The 32,000-square-foot building opens on Wednesday when the Allegiant flight arrives from Florida.
“I can’t believe I’m in Concord,” Mayor Scott Padgett says, acknowledging that the shiny new building will be an asset for the city. “This is first class.”
Cloutier, speaking to the approximately 150 local residents who attended the dedication ceremony, hinted that more activity is coming to the new complex.
“We hope this is another chapter in the continuing book of the airport,” he says.
Cloutier says he’s talking with additional low-fare airlines in an effort to bring passenger service from Concord to destinations in the north and west. If Cloutier is able to attract another 20 flights a week to Concord, the economic impact of the airport would increase up to $30 million a year to the point that it contributes $230 million a year to the local economy, he believes.
Allegiant, a bargain airline, began flights from Concord Regional in December 2013 with twice-weekly service to Orlando, Fla., offering a $99 round-trip fare. Allegiant links small cities to key leisure destinations around the country.
Now the airline offers flights from Concord Regional to four Florida destinations: Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers.
On Nov. 18, Allegiant begins three-times-a-week service to New Orleans from Concord.
The new Concord terminal is a miniature version of Charlotte Douglas International Airport with ticket counters, a baggage conveyor, gates, parking deck and Transportation Security Administration agents. But the Concord Regional version is less expensive across the board.
Flights to and from its four Florida destinations are about $100 round trip. Parking is free for now. When charges start on Wednesday, it’s $5 a day for covered parking and $4 for uncovered.
Until then, Allegiant passengers use a temporary terminal, a converted hangar that has served almost three years since the first flights from Concord Regional.
About 90% of the $6.5 million price tag for the new terminal building is paid by the feds. The state and Concord will pay the remaining 10%. Across the access road is a new $5.7 million parking deck that can hold 700 cars.
Concord Mayor Padgett has already taken an Allegiant flight with his family to Florida. His biggest surprise on the trip was discovering a Concord sign pointing to the Allegiant gate in the Orlando Sanford International Airport.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a sign saying Concord in another city,” Padgett says.