Cuomo: $34.8M modernization, expansion at Ithaca airport complete

The $34.8 million list of changes at the Ithaca Tompkins International Airport are complete.

The new, revitalized facility offers passengers contemporary amenities, including a larger terminal with new passenger terminal gates and boarding bridges, and enhanced security measures, all designed to ease travel and promote economic growth for the Southern Tier.

“Airports are the new front doors to regions across the state and they play a critical role ensuring our local economies are competitive in the 21st century and beyond,” Governor Cuomo said. “By transforming this airport into a state-of-the-art, international transit hub we are laying the foundation for even more tourism and business development and helping ensure the Southern Tier soars for decades to come.”

The airport redevelopment project nearly doubled the size of the passenger terminal and added new gates and passenger boarding bridges. The airport features enhanced security measures and modern passenger amenities, including spacious waiting areas equipped with charging stations, additional seating, more efficient passenger check in and baggage handling, post-security food and beverage options, additional retail opportunities and an indoor children’s play area. A new canopy over the front entrance and walkways to terminals protects travelers from inclement weather.

The airport project was supported with $14.2 million in state funding as part of the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition. The remainder was supported with $10 million in federal funding and $10.6 million from Tompkins County.

The renovation improves the long-term economic viability of the airport and enhances the passenger experience, increases security and better serves international travelers. The airport serves three major airlines – United Airlines, American Airlines and Delta Airlines – with more than 650 global connections. Additionally, the Ithaca Tompkins International Airport is experiencing significant growth with the number of passengers increasing by 10 percent in the last 12 months – a trend that is expected to continue with the airport’s modernization and expansion.

The airport modernization will support the region’s ability to grow globally and better serve modern travelers.

Facility upgrades include:

  • An 8,500-square-foot expansion of the passenger hold area, helping to streamline passenger security operations and improve efficiency. The security checkpoint was reconfigured and the Transportation Security Administration office was relocated. Baggage screening was updated to be compliant with post-9/11 security requirements. Another passenger security screening lane was added to alleviate wait times. A separate TSA room for staff and screening operations also was added.
  • Reconfigured airline office space and expanded baggage screening space as part of a 6,000-square-foot addition on the east side of the terminal.
  • Six new passenger terminal gates, including four with bridges for boarding planes and two with ground boarding access. The airport previously had one boarding bridge and five gates with ground boarding.
  • Three new passenger boarding bridges to accommodate jet aircraft and additional service, bringing the total number of passenger bridges at the airport to four.
  • An additional 1,700-square-feet of space at the main entrance and an expanded ticket counter to improve passenger circulation and provide more room for ticket queuing.
  • A 5,000-square-foot federal Customs facility.
  • Technology upgrades, including high-speed WiFi, Bluetooth connectivity and new, modern seating with charging ports and outlets.
  • Food service enhancements, including an expanded pre-security café and an additional 4,000 square feet of space for post-security food concessions.
  • An indoor play area featuring a replica of an airport control tower, heavy-duty plastic tubes for climbing and sliding, large-scale tic tac toe, an interactive touchscreen kiosk for games and educational activities and foam floor surfaces.
  • A new, translucent, curved-top canopy structure along the front entrance and over walkways to terminals, as well as a weather-resistant enclosure for passengers waiting for buses, taxis and shuttle.
  • A solar canopy covered parking system for the terminal parking lot.
  • New plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, mechanical and electrical systems.
  • New geothermal water-source heat pump system to reduce natural gas usage for the terminal and Customs facility.

The New York State Department of Transportation will relocate a maintenance facility from Cayuga Lake Inlet in Ithaca to the airport, freeing up 7.6 acres of prime waterfront property for development. The $19.5 million facility is scheduled for completion next year. Freeing up the Cayuga Lake parcel will encourage new private investment in Ithaca, generating business and tourism opportunities.

Moving to the airport will enhance NYSDOT operations and make 7.6 acres of prime waterfront property in the City of Ithaca available for development. That parcel, bordering the Cayuga Waterfront Trail and located just south of Cayuga Lake and the popular Ithaca Farmer’s Market, will be auctioned off late next year.

The existing transportation maintenance facility, built in 1956, is aging and inadequate for modern operations. The new, 15-acre airport location is scheduled to be operational for the 2020-21 snow and ice season. The project is the result of collaboration between the State, the Federal Aviation Administration, Tompkins County and the Town of Lansing.

New York State Department of Transportation Commissioner Marie Therese Dominguez said, “Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented investment in airports across New York State is making air travel more convenient, promoting growth in commerce and ensuring that our communities and businesses are ready for the future. The modernized Ithaca Tompkins International Airport will expand the entire region’s global reach while providing a safer, more enjoyable travel experiences.”

Senator Tom O’Mara said, “The expanded and modernized Ithaca Tompkins Airport will benefit area travelers and strengthen the foundation of the regional economy. It’s a long-awaited and welcome addition to the Southern Tier’s overall infrastructure.”

Senator James L. Seward said, The Ithaca Tompkins International Airport is a key part of our local economy and these upgrades will further heighten the facility’s regional value. With world-class colleges, tourist attractions, and businesses all within the airport’s shadow, it is vital that we invest in this vital infrastructure component. When travelers touch down at ITIA they should know they have arrived somewhere important. This transformative project will help convey that impression.”

Senator Pam Helming said, “The completion of the expansion and modernization of the Ithaca Tompkins International Airport will have a tremendous positive impact on our region’s economy. This investment by the state will allow the Town of Lansing and the greater Ithaca community to grow business opportunities and provide first class services to the many travelers who utilize this airport. The airport upgrades also incorporate changes that provide greater environmental protections for Cayuga Lake. Congratulations to Mike Hall, Director of the Airport, the Tompkins County Legislature and Lansing Town Supervisor Ed LeVigne.”

Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation Tim Kennedy said, “I commend Governor Cuomo for his continued support of modernizing and revitalizing Upstate airports. The new world-class Ithaca Tompkins International Airport will go a long way toward improving travel in the Southern Tier as well as boosting the economy locally and statewide.”

Assemblymember Barbara Lifton said, “Modernizing our airport has been a massive undertaking, and I’m so thrilled that the project is now complete. It’s great news for Ithaca, the Southern Tier, and the State of New York, and I was happy to support this important airport funding in the state budget. The revitalization of the airport will broaden economic and tourism opportunities across the region, helping the state and local economy. I want to thank Airport Director Mike Hall, Tompkins County Legislature Chair Martha Robertson, and the many others who were involved locally to make this happen, as well as the Governor for his continued commitment to revitalizing infrastructure and airports statewide, and here in the Southern Tier.”

Chair of the Assembly Committee on Transportation William Magnarelli said, “The completion of the renovations and expansion to the Ithaca Tompkins International Airport is a step forward in allowing the area to attract more passengers and flights. Creating a better traveling experience will translate into economic growth and more travel opportunities for residents in the Southern Tier.”

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said, “This much appreciated support from the State and the Governor has transformed the Ithaca Tompkins International Airport into a world class facility that is welcoming to visitors and local travelers alike. Tompkins County’s leadership has created an entrance into Ithaca and the surrounding area – and I’m grateful for all their hard work and investment.”

Martha Robertson, Chair, Tompkins County Legislature said, “We are beyond excited about our new terminal! We are grateful to the Governor for his generous support, to the union workers who kept the project on time and on budget, and to Airport Manager Mike Hall and his incredible team for keeping the airport open and the construction on track all throughout this challenging year. We are also excited that the new terminal is being heated by a geothermal system supported by solar – truly the 21st century gateway to Tompkins County that demonstrates our commitment to a sustainable future.”

Airport Manager Mike Hall said, “We’re extremely grateful to Governor Andrew Cuomo for his support of the Ithaca Tompkins International Airport. This state funding has led to a series of grants that have transformed this facility into a true international airport.”


To have the latest delivered to your smartphone or tablet – download the FingerLakes1.com App for Android and iOS. Follow the links below to download the app now! Android (All Android Devices) iOS (iPhone, iPad)