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Having recently set new post-COVID passenger mark, Columbia Metropolitan Airport gears up to update master plan

Airport master plan vision

Having recently set new post-COVID passenger mark, Columbia Metropolitan Airport gears up to update master plan

Recovery and Improvement in Full Swing

Amid its strenuous task towards a future filled with possibilities and opportunities, the Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Lexington County, South Carolina celebrates a noteworthy achievement in its recovery process from the COVID-19 crisis. The airport, serving as a principal transportation option for the Midlands, documented a robust 16% escalation in passenger traffic from 2022 to 2023.

Succeeding its first year since the pandemic to eclipse 1 million commuters with an impressive 1.2 million passengers last year, the airport continues to kindle a series of advancements to increase its appeal to potential travellers.

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Major Improvements Elevate Airport Experience

Last year, the airport accomplished a $1 million project to uplift airline ticket counters and establish an in-line baggage system. This update streamlined the processing of luggage behind the scenes, eliminating the former clutter of scanners populating the lobby, and simplifying luggage drop-offs at ticket counters for passengers.

Other enhancements to the transit hub include upgraded Transportation Security Administration checkpoints, added with the support of a $5 million Federal Aviation Administration Airport Terminals Program grant. The common use system for the ticket counters is designed to enable airlines to conveniently add or shift ticket counters, leading to more direct, cost-effective flights.

Significant progress is seen in food and beverage options as well, with the eminent addition of an in-terminal Samuel Adams Brewhouse.

Next Steps towards a Comprehensive Master Plan

The airport has more promises to fulfil as they continuously strive to make the airport more competitive with larger nearby airports such as Charlotte and Atlanta. From ensuring a seamless airport experience for consumers to bolstering shipping operations, the next steps for the airport are under construction as it puts together its master plan.

“From the airport side, we’re looking at every facet from garage to gate,” says Kim Crafton, the airport’s Vice President of Marketing and Air Service Development. “From the consumer side, we want it to be a seamless process,” she adds.

This plan, required to be updated about every 10 years by the FAA, aims to set priorities based on customer needs and desires. A community-focused approach is being adopted in creating the next guiding document more than ever before, marking the involvement of passengers and community members in shaping these improvements through in-terminal and online surveys.

Economic and Developmental Benefits

Updates also include cargo operations, vital for both the airport and the region. The airport is actively assessing to fulfil the demand of businesses like the $2 billion electric vehicle plant, Scout Motors, building in Blythewood.

“We want to be really up to date with our understanding of what UPS is wanting to do, what FedEx is wanting to do, what their plans are, what some of the businesses in our community are doing,” said Frank Murray, the airport’s vice president of planning and engineering.

Jason Giulietti, President and CEO of the Central SC Alliance, and Garrett Dragano, Director of Economic Development for Lexington County, mentioned the significant role that the airport plays in securing new investments in a recent Lexington Chamber forum. The master plan will thus also influence new economic role of the airport.

Striving to bounce back from the pandemic slowdown, the Columbia Metropolitan Airport continues its endeavours to provide an enhanced experience, attract more carriers, increase passenger traffic, and serve its community better in all facets.


Having recently set new post-COVID passenger mark, Columbia Metropolitan Airport gears up to update master plan

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This Article is sponsored by:


7001 St Andrews Rd #329 ,Columbia, SC 29212,United States
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