(11/13/12) - If the talk of snow and cold air has you thinking about going
some place warm, your travel plans could lead you to Flint's Bishop airport -
where some major changes are on display.
The fifth expansion project is completed and the airport's new wing is open for business.
The new wing is on the west side of the airport. Once inside, you'll see a new TSA screening area, new seating and four new gates.
There are also other things that aren't so visible.
"There's a lot you don't see, that's what funny. The mechanical, the engineering, the heating, the chilling, that all had to be updated because the terminal is 20 years old," said Jim Rice, Bishop airport director.
You could say Bishop Airport officials have been working on this latest phase of the airport for two decades. The original design was crafted in the 90s and then put together piece by piece.
The plan came to fruition Tuesday morning when the new wing opened for air travelers.
Rice says this addition gives the airport room to grow. Before the expansion, they were pretty much at capacity.
The project includes a new security area, new relaxed seating, and Wi-Fi areas with high tech computer bars.
"The big improvement is the new TSA area it's wider, and there's more room for people to get in and out of the airport," Rice said.
Southwest will start flying in and out of Flint in April. The expansion gives the airport room to accommodate other potential new carriers as well.
"It's most important for the people of southeastern Michigan, because it gives us room to grow, we were pretty much at capacity." Rice said. "There's four additional gates where we can spread it out a little. If we have a potential of a new carrier, then we have room for them."
The $18 million project is designed to reflect the city's rich history and culture.
"In this latest addition, we tried to emphasis the people of Flint. You'll see the glass between the secure and the non secure of the building - we have profiles of people and a lot of people who worked on the terminal are in those profiles," said architect Martin Wander. "We want to have the technology of Flint, manufacturing of Flint, not necessarily an automotive terminal, but a terminal that expressed the creativity of Flint, the culture of Flint and people."
The passengers seem to enjoy their first look.
"It's very nice. Every time we fly out of Flint it's always nice, very easy to fly out of here," said Diane Boyne, who was traveling from South Carolina.
This was Kathy Tripp's first time flying from Flint. She is traveling to Atlanta.
I think it's wonderful, beautiful, easy to find," she said. "For an international airport, it's got the touch of smallness."
ABC12 Main Station