Region's airport hope new emphasis on infrastructure will bring improvements

Nov 21, 2016

Airports could be getting some love with the current emphasis on infrastructure improvements. President-elect Donald Trump has often mentioned airports as a key part of infrastructure improvements he would like to see, and New York state continues investing in airports. And these are things local airport officials are happy to hear.

Syracuse’s Hancock International Airport is pretty typical of many airports across the country. The terminal was constructed in 1962, a golden age of airport expansion. A lot has changed in the last 50 years – post-9/11 security, bigger planes and simply more people taking to the air. And Hancock Executive Director Christina Callahan says the airport has been treading water.

“There have been some improvements over the years but; not a lot. It’s been more of a reaction of something needing to be done, rather than being pro-active,” said Callahan.

And while there has been a large investment in the post-security areas of Hancock, the public terminal still has a 1960s look to it.

"When I look at the checkpoint, I look at that area beyond. It’s modern, it’s convenient, it gives people a space that is easy to navigate, easy to use, and I’d like to see us make those same investments in the public side of the terminal,” said Callahan.

An updated parking complex is also high on Callahan’s radar. She says not only could the 35-year old parking garage use some work, but the there are investments that could make entire parking system more user friendly.

“Right now it doesn’t allow us to introduce some of the customer enhancements we know passengers want, whether it’s parking guidance systems so you know exactly which floor, which spot is available,” said Callahan.

New York state is also in the midst of investing millions of state dollars into upstate airports, most recently as part of the $200 million Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization competition.