OK, so maybe the Airport isn’t investing $110 million just to serve Kent better but given the close proximity of the Airport to Kent and all the travel business that walks through the gates of Akron Canton coming to or from Kent, there’s no doubt that the Airport’s expansion plans is good news for Kent. Gary Locke, Kent’s Community Development Director, serves on an Airport committee so he’s been following the Airport’s expansion plans and he sent me information about what all of us travelers can expect over the next 10 years.
Akron Canton Airport 10 Year Capital Expansion Plan
FROM GARY LOCKE, KENT COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
“Kent residents and businesses are fortunate to have multiple alternatives available to them for air travel. Cleveland Hopkins International Airport of course is the largest of these airports. The Akron-Canton Regional Airport is a sometimes overlooked facility capable of providing many of the same services as the larger airport but with less crowds, less travel time and in some cases lower fares. City staff recently had the opportunity to learn more about a 10 year capital improvement plan being implemented by the Akron-Canton Regional Airport. This expansion is significant not only for the airport and the communities immediately adjacent to it, but also to the region, including Kent and Portage County.
Over the next 10 years (through 2018), the airport expects to invest over $110 million in its facilities. Some of this investment has already begun. One of the most significant upgrades is the extension of the main runway (5/23) by 600 feet to a total length of 8,200 feet. This extension will allow larger planes to take-off and land at the facility and will allow the airlines operating from the airport to expand their flight capabilities and potential destinations.
In addition to this improvement, the airport will also be installing new customs and border patrol facilities which will enable it to offer international flights, primarily to Mexico and Canada. Parking facilities will also be expanded as will ticketing areas and TSA security screening areas. There will also be concourse expansions that will provide more gates. The airport has recently completed $60 million in improvements which included new concourse areas and other improvements. The airport has taken significant actions to increase the number of travelers using the airport and ridership has increased significantly from 10 years ago. Currently approximately 90 flights take-off and land at the airport daily.
What most people do not realize, according to airport officials, is that the lower fares offered through the airport help keep the pricing of airfares at surrounding airports somewhat lower than they might be otherwise. The airport also provides a significant service to local businesses that rely on the air industry for travel or commerce. The proposed expansions to the airport will serve as an economic development enhancement to area communities, including Kent. These expansions will make the region and its cities more attractive to both residents as well as existing and future businesses. The airport’s ability to thrive and grow depends on people using it, so please consider the Akron-Canton Regional Airport when making your future air travel plans.”