A multi-million-dollar renovation project at Appleton International Airport has hit the halfway mark. Local 5’s Kris Schuller checked in on the progress and explains why there are such high expectations for the project.
Inside Appleton International Airport – passengers check out a brand-new restaurant on its first day of operation. And everyone likes what they see.
“I think it’s nice, it’s that subway tile design that is very popular and I think it looks real nice,” said Bill Marks, who was waiting to fly out of Appleton.
The restaurant is just one of many upgrades at the airport. Along with a new gift shop, expanded baggage claim and new tickets counters. Airport Director Abe Weber says all the projects are included in a $6.8 million-dollar renovation that began in January – and has five months to go.
“We want to be the doorstep to the community, we want to make sure when travelers first arrive here they get an amazing first impression of what the Fox Valley has to offer,” Weber said.
In all 40,000 square feet will be reshaped. Airport spokesman Patrick Murphy says it’s meant to improve the experience for the thousands of passengers who are flying out of here in record numbers.
“Business is up through the end of April, 16 % over last year,” said Tracey.
“We’ve added additional routes, we’ve increased size of aircraft operating in and out of here and we’ve added American Airlines,” said Weber.
“The total of all that means Appleton airport will have its best year in its history,” Tracey added.
While work remains – like adding a third security checkpoint and updating the second half of baggage claim – passengers appreciate the work completed and what the future holds.
“Haven’t been here in quite a while but I can tell – this is a marked improvement from what it use to be,” Marks said.
Renovations for a 53-year-old facility – improvements that Weber says the community deserves.
“We are here to support our community,” said the director.
That 16% increase in passengers means nearly 600,000 people traveled through Appleton International Airport last year.