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Airport Posts Third Month of Record Passenger Traffic

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa - Another month, another record for travelers passing through The Eastern Iowa Airport.

A total of 82,830 passengers used the airport in February, eclipsing the previous record of 79,359 passengers in February 2013. The airport also experienced a record 89,869 passengers in December and 83,664 passengers in January.

Airport Director Tim Bradshaw said the three months of record passenger traffic came during the worst winter in 20 years for the nation's airlines, causing significant delays and cancellations.

"We look at the numbers and wonder what our passenger traffic would have been if we had not been so hard hit by winter," Bradshaw said. "Our success at the airport directly reflects what is happening in the community.

"Part of it might be people just wanting to get out of the cold, but more likely it reflects our a strong economy and strong business travel."

With parking lots packed to capacity during the recent spring break, Heather Wilson, director of marketing and communications, told the Cedar Rapids Airport Commission on Monday that March may be another record month for passenger traffic.

Bradshaw said the continued growth of passenger traffic is driving renovations and upgrades to the airport's 27-year-old passenger terminal.

The airport commission on Monday approved a resolution for the design of a temporary passenger loading bridge in the lower level B concourse. Bradshaw said a "switchback" ramp inside the concourse will enable passengers to use a passenger loading bridge for aircraft flown by Allegiant Air and Frontier Airlines.

"The ramp will raise passengers to the level required for the loading bridge while complying with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements in terms of the elevation," Bradshaw said. "We will be able to reuse the loading bridge when we add more gates during the expansion of the B concourse in 2016."

The first phase of a $47 million terminal remodeling and expansion project project will begin this spring with the addition of a new canopy to the front of the building. The second phase will include a renovated lobby, ticketing area, baggage claim and energy efficient upgrades to improve the use, function and carbon footprint of the terminal.

Latter phases will expand the ground level B concourse and security checkpoint as well as adding more space for departing passengers waiting for boarding on the upper level C concourse.

The Federal Aviation Administration will be reviewing the terminal remodeling plans early next month. The commission plans to seek bids on the first phase in May and award contracts at its June 2 meeting.

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