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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sen. Maria Cantwell voices support for Spokane International Airport terminal expansion project

Spokane International Airport officials are moving forward on an expansion project to add three gates to the terminal to meet growing demand for air travel in the region.

At a press conference held at the airport Wednesday, Sen. Maria Cantwell highlighted the need for a federal grant to fund the expansion and renovation of the terminal.

“We know very well that companies like to locate close to airports. It helps cut down on costs and allows them to reach markets,” Cantwell said. “So the terminal renovation and expansion project, known as TREX, will allow the airport to accommodate growing passenger traffic and enlarge the economic opportunities for this area.”

The airport submitted a $65 million grant request to pay for the project with Cantwell’s backing. The money would come from the Biden-Harris Infrastructure Law.

“Modern, resilient and sustainable airports will help strengthen our supply chain, help our U.S. businesses compete in a global economy, and get our consumers where they need to go,” Cantwell said. “I’m proud to support this application, and hope that the Department of Transportation will act very soon, hopefully within the next few days, to let us know about this investment request.”

Airport officials anticipate breaking ground in August on the first phase of the expansion project, which is estimated to cost $150 million. It would add 144,000 square feet and three gates to Terminal C. It would also expand the ticketing area, upgrade the building’s HVAC system and consolidate the baggage system.

Spokane International Airport CEO Larry Krauter said the expansion would be the first significant terminal renovation and expansion project to occur at the airport in more than 23 years.

“The TREX project will deliver substantial benefits to our community,” Krauter said. “First and foremost, it gives us more gate capacity to help our airline partners to expand service to new cities or to increase frequencies within their existing networks.”

The expansion will also allow for additional charter flights, Krauter said.

The airport is nearing its pre-pandemic level of more than 4 million passengers, and the three new gates and passenger loading bridges at Terminal C will provide much needed space to accommodate future growth, Krauter said.

The project will use common terminal equipment, which is technology that enables gates to be used by multiple airlines.

“So, that’s a really big efficiency gain for us,” Krauter said.

The project also calls for ADA-accessible improvements; companion care and nursing mother spaces; pet relief areas; and new concession, food and beverage options.

“We will also be able to install automated exit lane technology as part of this project, which enhances security and also frees up TSA staffing resources,” Krauter said.

TREX is estimated to create nearly 1,200 jobs, according to airport officials.

“Increasing our airport’s capacity and better connecting Spokane air travel to new markets will allow for the Spokane economy to better engage with other metro areas, growing tourism and business market developments and relocation,” said Mark Mattke, CEO of the Spokane Workforce Council. “And the TREX project will support our economic expansion efforts and result in increased prosperity for Eastern Washington.”

The airport aims to fund TREX using a mix of bond, federal grant funds and passenger facility revenue.

Phase one of the project is slated to be complete in 2025. Subsequent phases of TREX are dependent upon future availability of grant dollars, Krauter said.

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