New $6 million rental car facility coming to Roanoke airport

Expected to open next year

By Shayne Dwyer - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - A new $6 million rental car facility is coming to the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport to improve your experience. 

Right now, you have to go to the rental car desk, get your keys, and then search for your rental in the parking lot. 

Soon, passengers can go straight to a new, dedicated lot for their rentals. 

When you pick up your wheels after touching down in Virginia's Blue Ridge, the process is a little old school. 

"I can't think of the last time I traveled in the last two years where I didn't go to a consolidated rental car facility to pick up my car," said Brad Boettcher, Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport marketing director.

This summer, all that changes when the airport begins on a $6 million consolidated facility of its own. 

"Coming out of the east end of the terminal building, there will be a small walkway that will link to the rental car facility," Boettcher said. 

That's the new plan. Right now, rentals are mixed into short-term parking. The counter setup isn't ideal and finding the car can be a challenge of its own. 

Fares and schedules aren't controllable, but they can try to make it as easy as possible once you're there.

"From a customer service perspective, it's going to be much easier and cleaner," Boettcher said. "We're going to make a modification to the drive so that once you come into the terminal drive, the rental car return will be very easy to see."

The employee lot will be the new rental lot and employees will park in overflow across the street. 

If you're a local, you may ask, why do I care? The airport says a better experience for guests is better for all. 

"The airport is the front door to the region," Boettcher said. "It's the first thing you see and the last thing you see when you leave, and so to have people have a good positive experience on things we locally can control is a good thing."

The new facility is expected to be complete by this time next year. 

Eventually, the airport hopes to do phase two. That would bring another building for the rental companies to clean and gas the cars right on the spot, instead of down the street like they do now. 

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