Concord airport opens new $12.6M terminal complex, considers other airlines Thursday, September 29, 2016
Charlotte Business Journal Article by Ken Elkins
Concord Regional Airport dedicated its new $12.6 million terminal complex this morning that planners say could triple the number of scheduled airline flights at the airport.
And Rick Cloutier, airport director, is in the hunt to add as many as four other carriers to Allegiant Air, now the airport’s sole scheduled-service provider. If his efforts work, he could fill the new terminal building with 30 flights a week, up from the current 10 flights a week.
The 32,000-square-foot building opens on Wednesday when the Allegiant flight arrives from Florida.
“I can’t believe I’m in Concord,” Mayor Scott Padgett says, acknowledging that the shiny new building will be an asset for the city. “This is first class.”
Cloutier, speaking to the approximately 150 local residents who attended the dedication ceremony, hinted that more activity is coming to the new complex.
“We hope this is another chapter in the continuing book of the airport,” he says.
Cloutier says he’s talking with additional low-fare airlines in an effort to bring passenger service from Concord to destinations in the north and west. If Cloutier is able to attract another 20 flights a week to Concord, the economic impact of the airport would increase up to $30 million a year to the point that it contributes $230 million a year to the local economy, he believes.
Allegiant, a bargain airline, began flights from Concord Regional in December 2013 with twice-weekly service to Orlando, Fla., offering a $99 round-trip fare. Allegiant links small cities to key leisure destinations around the country.
Now the airline offers flights from Concord Regional to four Florida destinations: Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fort Lauderdale and Fort Myers.
On Nov. 18, Allegiant begins three-times-a-week service to New Orleans from Concord.
The new Concord terminal is a miniature version of Charlotte Douglas International Airport with ticket counters, a baggage conveyor, gates, parking deck and Transportation Security Administration agents. But the Concord Regional version is less expensive across the board.
Flights to and from its four Florida destinations are about $100 round trip. Parking is free for now. When charges start on Wednesday, it’s $5 a day for covered parking and $4 for uncovered.
Until then, Allegiant passengers use a temporary terminal, a converted hangar that has served almost three years since the first flights from Concord Regional.
About 90% of the $6.5 million price tag for the new terminal building is paid by the feds. The state and Concord will pay the remaining 10%. Across the access road is a new $5.7 million parking deck that can hold 700 cars.
Concord Mayor Padgett has already taken an Allegiant flight with his family to Florida. His biggest surprise on the trip was discovering a Concord sign pointing to the Allegiant gate in the Orlando Sanford International Airport.
“That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a sign saying Concord in another city,” Padgett says.
Ken Elkins covers manufacturing, international business and economic development for the Charlotte Business Journal.
New terminal unveiled at Concord airport Wednesday, September 28, 2016
WSOCTV News Story by Blake Hanson
A musical performer, cake and ribbon-cutting welcomed in a new era at Concord Regional Airport Thursday. However, the terminal is being lauded not for its “bells and whistles,” but its functionality in thrusting the airport into the future.
The new $6.5 million terminal replaces an old hangar that has served in that role. Ninety percent of the funding came from federal money. The city and the North Carolina Department of Transportation picked up the rest of the bill.
The terminal has two gates, 700 parking spots close by and sports a much shorter walk from front door to the gate than Charlotte Douglas.
"It's a very nice building, but it’s functional, we didn't put a lot of bells and whistles in it," said Richard Cloutier, Concord Regional Airport Director.
That helps keep costs low. A key feature of the airport as it expands flights with low cost airlines like Allegiant. It also hopes to win on the convenience factor.
"We understand that traveling causes anxiety, and trying to minimize anxiety will just increase the passenger experience," Cloutier said.
The first flights will depart from the new terminal Wednesday.
Allegiant, Concord Regional set to expand Friday, September 23, 2016
INDEPENDENT TRIBUNE ARTICLE by Michael Knox on 09/23/16
CONCORD — Allegiant Air has been a part of Concord Regional Airport since it launched its first service on Dec. 20, 2013 with just two flights a week, and now the airline offers about 12 flights a week, using an old hanger as its terminal.
“We wanted to grow faster, and the facilities were just restrained there,” said Eric Fletcher, with Allegiant Air.
But a new terminal and parking deck — which opens for service on Oct. 4 — will allow Allegiant Air to immediately go up to 17 flights a week, and the airline is already considering adding more flights.
“Things have gone so well, we’ve blown through all forecasts we had,” Fletcher said during a recent event for Allegiant Air and Concord Regional Airport.
Allegiant looks to have more than 80,000 departing passengers by the end of this year, not including about another 80,000 arriving passengers.
And Concord Regional Airport will be able to handle even more passengers, with the expansion allowing the airport to offer about 30 flights a week.
There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new terminal and parking deck held at 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29 at the terminal, located at 7425 Zephyr Place, Concord.
The new terminal and parking deck is not only helping Allegiant Air expand their services, but now they are eyeing Concord as a possible place to actually base aircraft here. Allegiant flies out of other locations, landing in Concord with maintenance personnel and check-in personnel contracted out to come in and support the airline during operations.
But, if Allegiant Air gets up to 21 flights a week or more, officials might consider basing airplanes here. That means pilots, flight mechanics and other personnel could be based in Cabarrus County instead of being contracted outside the county. Fletcher said they are anticipating the possibility of being up to 21 flights by next spring/summer.
If Allegiant were to base airplanes here, that would mean about 20 full-time employees per plane, with an average salary of $80,000 a year, according to Concord Regional Airport Director Rick Cloutier.
Allegiant officials are already targeting three or four potential destinations to expand services to that could help them get up to that 21 flights a week quota. Cloutier has pushed for services to be offered in the northeast, specifically New York, but nothing has been confirmed yet. Another possibility mentioned has been Austin, Texas.
Cloutier said they are making presentations for Northeast and Midwest routes, pitching about five, “fairly realistic destinations.”
Those possible destinations can now be offered thanks to Concord Regional Airport expanding, and officials are already planning for future growth.
Concord Regional Airport officials have been working a $6.5 million terminal that will be more than 25,000 square feet. About 90 percent of the construction cost will be paid with federal funding and the rest will be split between state funding and the City of Concord. Concord’s portion will be about $325,000, according Cloutier.
A $5.7 million parking deck with 750 parking spaces was also built. The parking deck was funded by the City of Concord, which will charge parking fees to generate revenue to pay for the construction. Parking fees look to be $4 a day.
Currently, there averages about 350 cars at Concord Regional Airport on a given day that belong to Allegiant Air customers, Cloutier said. Even at those numbers, at $4 a car, that could yield $1,400 a day.
The new parking deck and terminal expansion will now make Concord Regional Airport’s size comparable to the Asheville Regional Airport, Cloutier said.
Plus, the airport can still expand even more. When officials began construction, they were able to have permits and infrastructure in place to add an additional two gates and 450 more parking spaces. The expansion could add an additional 25 flights a week.
Cloutier has been in discussions with other airlines who could offer services at Concord Regional Airport pushing the need for that expansion.
Allegiant Air is currently the only commercial airline offering services out of Concord, and have been offering services to Florida. Here is a breakdown of their current services to Florida during peak times:
4 flights a week to Orlando, with flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
4 flights a week to Ft. Lauderdale, with flights on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday.
3 flights a week to Tampa/St. Pete on Monday, Thursday, Saturday.
2 flights a week to Fort Myers/ Punta Gorda.
And in November, Allegiant Air will be adding services to New Orleans, with two flights a week, with flights on Sunday and Thursday.
Allegiant Air’s addition of flights to New Orleans from Concord will only help expand the business’ economic impact on the community.
Nationwide, Allegiant Air has an economic impact of $11.2 billion a year, supporting 10,252 jobs and has 4.8 million “visitors” a year. Allegiant did not have numbers specific to North Carolina or Concord Regional Airport, but Cloutier has previously talked about regional airports being revenue generators.
He said for every $1 spent on airport improvements, that typically generates $20 in product.
Concord Regional Airport’s economic impact on the region is about $200 million a year. And Cloutier can see that increasing as more commercial flights come online at the airport.
The economic impact will only continue to grow, thanks to Allegiant Air’s presence and other airlines now eyeing the airport.
Before Allegiant, there were no commercial flights offered here, which has been pretty much the practice for the company that is based in Las Vegas and has been around for about 15 years.
“We fly where the other airlines aren’t. Eighty-five percent of our routes have no competition and we’ve had a lot of success growing these types of markets,” Fletcher said.
Allegiant has a fleet of about 85 planes serving about 118 cities across the nation, helping boosting the economies of those communities, such as Concord. Concord has already become a destination for many Florida travelers, who use the airline to get to the Charlotte region and travel to other areas, such as Boone and Asheville.
Cloutier has previously talked about how the price point for Allegiant Airlines has actually stimulated travel. Allegiant’s flights, with airfare and add-ons, runs about $109 for a one way flight, with Southwest Airlines averaging $144 and other airlines averaging $196.
Cloutier has said people going on vacation in the region fly into Concord Regional Airport because of Allegiant’s low costs and then rent a car to travel the area.
It’s a familiar story, Fletcher said.
“When you start flying to cities where no one else is, we’re stimulating new traffic,” Fletcher said. “These are new people coming in to visit that weren’t here before.”
WSOC Article on Industrial Building Growth adjacent to Concord Regional Airport Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Updated: 5:46 p.m. Monday, May 25, 2015 | Posted: 7:46 p.m. Saturday, May 23, 2015 - Written by Allison Latos
CONCORD, N.C. —