'We're expecting this to take a few years to get back to where we were'
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- Over the past several years, the Redmond Municipal Airport has been looking at a terminal area concept plan for expansion, but they couldn't have predicted the pandemic.
So do those plans change now?
Redmond Airport Director Zachary Bass says no other even in airline history even comes close to the pandemic's impact on industry demand.
"We're running at about 50% of what we were at this time last year," Bass told NewsChannel 21 Friday.
According to the Air Transport Association of America, COVID-19 has erased nearly 40 years of traffic growth in the U.S alone, so Bass says the airport's future terminal expansion plans are being evaluated carefully.
"With COVID and the decrease in travelers at this point, that will be looked at as we walk through this pre-design for terminal expansion," Bass said.
Bass says the airport is looking at a terminal area concept plan to meet current and future demands.
"We know for a fact that we need a larger hold room, where people wait for their aircraft," Bass said. "We know we'd like to see jet bridges, especially with our weather here," replacing outdoor boarding.
The plan would expand the terminal to the west, to accommodate future passenger demand and larger aircraft. Also, Bass says safety has become an even higher priority due to the pandemic.
"How can we make air travel in the new terminal more safe when it comes to COVID type issues?" Bass said. "Again, we're talking years in the future."
Bass says in the five years prior to the pandemic, their traffic doubled from 500,000 passengers a year to 1 million.
"We have found in the last few weeks a small uptick, but we're expecting this to take a few years to get back to where we were pre-COVID," Bass said.
The concept plans are set to be presented during the Redmond City Council meeting next Tuesday evening, with stakeholder meetings and community surveys to follow.