As operations get underway at Southwest Florida International Airport’s new 438-million dollar, 798-thousand-square foot terminal – the airport’s OLD terminal awaits demolition. Airport officials say they’ve received a number of calls to use the old building to house Hurricane Katrina victims…but say that’s not an option. One of the main reasons is that the old terminal – built in 1983 – is no longer up to code. 24-hour security would also be required due to its direct access to the “active aircraft” portion of the airport. There are also restrictions by the Federal Aviation Administration on how airport property can be used. Airport spokeswoman - Susan Sanders - says if the old terminal doesn’t generate revenue, it would violate grant agreements with the FAA…and that would mean having to repay some of the grants that originally funded the terminal.
She says all of these factors point to demolition.
“The concept is, you want to maintain the airport for the use and convenience of the people in the area…and it’s our job as an airport operator to keep operating costs as low as we can so that we have good air service. And the way we do that is to generate maximum revenue from all of our airport resources.”
Sanders says using the old terminal as a local hurricane shelter has also been suggested…but that’s not possible for the very same reasons.
Monday, 12 September 2005 01:00