ROANOKE, Va. – The Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport is looking to make the flying process a little easier for customers.
On Saturday, Virginia Senator Mark Warner presented a check for $15 million for the airport to make improvements.
The money is a part of the bi-partisan infrastructure bill. The bill helps fund infrastructure systems throughout the United States.
Sen. Warner says this was something congress has wanted to do for a long time.
“For 40 years in this country we’ve been talking about needing to invest in roads, in rail, in broadband and airports,” Warner said. “Instead of talking about infrastructure actually put our money where our mouth is...and this at the end of day is part of the result.”
The $15 million is going towards two specific projects: Security and Bag Check.
Currently someone flying out of the airport would check their bag in at the ticket counter but then have to carry the bag themselves to one of two screening areas.
The goal is to eliminate the process and have customers leave their bags at the counter for a conveyor belt to then carry to the screening area.
As for security, the funds will move some areas of the security line more central. It would ultimately free up space in gate 1, which will then be able to be used as a traditional airline gate.
Mike Stewart, Executive Director for Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport, says passengers don’t have an issue right now but making it easier will improve overall satisfaction.
“It’s just not optimal. So, we’ll be able to smooth out that process. As we grow in passengers, if you kind of take out that lobby piece, it gives us room to grow ticket counter wise. It gives us room to grow gate wise and just makes the whole flow easier on the customer,” Stewart said.
The goal is to have construction begin in about two years. The airport is still going through some designing phases. However, customers should not see any delays in the process during construction.
“Not at all. You may see some pardon our dust signs but that will be about it,” Stewart said.