Dayton airport to invest $40M on upgrades to concourse

The Dayton International Airport plans to invest more than $40 million in the next several years to improve its concourses, consolidate its concession area and shorten the walk to its gates.

“We’ve done a lot to improve the airport to make sure it’s the airport of choice,” said Gil Turner, Dayton’s aviation director.

In the last half dozen years, the airport has finished multiple phases of its terminal master plan, which includes more than $30 million worth of projects to replace the entrances to its terminal and renovate the terminal canopy and interior.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

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The airport soon plans to construct two new connectors to shorten the travel distance from the TSA checkpoint to its concourses by about 44%, officials said.

The new elevated connectors will provide more direct paths to Concourses A and B. The airport has 22 gates, and the current connectors were constructed more than 30 years ago.

Aviation officials say the connectors, which are about 550 feet long, are outdated and not energy efficient. The new connectors will be about 300 feet long and will have modern mechanical and lighting systems.

The connector project and other concourse access enhancements are expected to cost more than $37 million and could be completed by 2024/2025, officials said.

The airport also is going to consolidate its food concessions into a new second-floor area that will be much closer to the gates, Turner said. Travelers will be able to see the gates from the new food court area.

Hopefully, more travelers will patronize the businesses if they are closer to their gates and don’t have to worry about a long walk and missing their flights, he said.

Current concessions are located before security checkpoint, directly behind the security checkpoint and both on concourse A and concourse B, aviation officials said.

The airport also plans to centralize its escalators beyond the TSA checkpoint, which will lead up to the new second-level public space, eliminating duplication and improving the passenger experience, Turner said.

Earlier this year, the city approved a $5.7 million contract with Setterlin Building Company for a public circulation enhancement project.

This will “continue the renovation of our wonderful airport,” said Dayton Deputy City Manager Joe Parlette.

The company will renovate the TSA checkpoint area, re-reroof most of the terminal and replace windows in Concourse A and upgrade its elevator, according to city documents.

The area beyond the TSA checkpoint is a bottleneck, but this project will widen and expand it to improve circulation and aesthetics and provide a more comfortable space past security for passengers collect their items, Turner said.

The circulation project is expected to begin in February and wrap up about a year later.

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In the last decade, upgrades and improvement projects have helped make the airport a “top-notch” facility, said Montgomery County Commissioner Debbie Lieberman, who listened to a presentation about updates to the airport in December.

However, she said, the current connectors feel like a long walk to the gates.

“I love the next phase,” she said.

Many people say a few of the airport’s best qualities include its convenience and how quickly travelers can get through the lines and TSA and arrive at their gates.

COVID has had a big impact on the airport, but the facility’s passenger traffic and airlines’ seat capacity continue to rebound.

The Dayton International Airport had 776 flights in April, but aviation officials say the facility could have about 1,320 flights in April 2022.

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