With an eye on reinvesting in its infrastructure and expanding services, the Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority board of governors approved a $36.7 million operating budget for all three of its aviation facilities, plus a nearly $49.1 million capital improvement program for 2020.
The operating budget and capital improvements cover Lehigh Valley International Airport, Queen City Airport and Braden Airpark. The operating budget showed a $3 million increase over last year, while the capital improvement program showed a $7.4 million increase. In comparison, last year, the board approved a $33.7 million operating budget and $41.7 million capital improvement program, airport officials said.
The investment is a good reflection of the region and the economy, airport officials said, noting that large-scale infrastructure projects are job creators, often for companies in the Lehigh Valley.
In October, the authority announced plans to build a $22 million security checkpoint and terminal connector at LVIA in Hanover Township, Lehigh County, expected to be complete in 2022. The project would eliminate multiple vertical transitions for passengers and streamline traffic flow. In addition, it would add two additional Transportation Security Administration screening lanes.
“If you really dissect the numbers, the airport authority’s core business of airfield and facility management is driving the revenue increases for 2020,” said Todd Quann, director of finance and administration at LNAA, in a news release. “Twenty five consecutive months of passenger traffic increases, additional flights/destinations has resulted in more people using the facility.”
Since 2015, the airport authority self-funded about $38 million in the capital improvement program. For 2020, it has earmarked $17.7 million for projects.
At LVIA, these projects include Runway 6/24 rehabilitation; phase one of the TSA Security Checkpoint connector design and construction, and the main terminal parking lot rehabilitation.
At Queen City Airport, the projects include updating the master plan and removing obstructions.
In addition, at Braden Airpark, the authority is planning for phase two construction of a new terminal building.
The funds in the capital improvement program also include grant funding from the Federal Aviation Administration and PennDOT Bureau of Aviation.
The board approved the 2020 budget at its monthly meeting on Nov. 26 at Lehigh Valley Hospital- Muhlenberg.