As Montrose Regional Airport is preparing for the peak season of the year, a terminal expansion project is also underway. While the construction may cause minor disruptions to travelers in the upcoming months, Lloyd Arnold, director of aviation at the airport, said that passengers will be much better off once the renovations are finished.
“I think on a temporary basis, the passenger experience will not be what it was, but we anticipate once the terminal is completed that the passenger experience will be greatly enhanced,” Arnold said.
Starting on Dec. 1, the baggage claim area will be temporarily moved outside to the south end of the airport, which will alter the flow of passengers through the airport. Arnold said that the setup will be similar to a temporary outdoor baggage pickup space that has been deployed in previous years.
Also, the airport outpost of Horsefly Brewing has moved.
County commissioners approved the $33 million terminal construction project as the traffic at MTJ continues to grow.
The terminal expansion will nearly double the size of the terminal and is scheduled to be completed by September 2023.
Data on enplanements and deplanements show that passenger traffic hit record highs in the summer of 2021. Twice as many passengers traveled through Montrose Regional in October 2021 than the same month last year.
An additional 450 new parking spots for rental and overflow parking are slated to be finished by Dec. 12. The entire project will add 570 total new parking spots by the end of the project.
Meanwhile, the new hotel adjacent to the airport does not have a ground-breaking date set yet.
Gregory Wilhelm-Wenzel, the CEO of the company contracted to build the Homewood Suites by Hilton hotel that will add 118 new rooms and a rooftop bar to Montrose, said that SunCore is still finalizing details with the city and county on the site plan.
The reverberating effects of the pandemic are also delaying the construction of the hotel: Wilhelm-Wenzel also said that supply chain impacts and material availability are affecting the timeline of the project.
Arnold touted a webpage that airport officials have developed to alert travelers of updates as the terminal expansion continues. Travelers can visit flymontrose.com/construction to also sign up for receiving text messages and/or email alerts.
“We are excited about the webpage that we have developed to provide continual updates to the traveling public — they know exactly what’s going on during the construction so that we can have an easier flow of traffic in and out of the airport,” Arnold said.
Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified the brand of the airport hotel.