CHICAGO - The Des Moines Airport Authority board approved a long-term site plan that calls for a new, $468 million partially bond-financed terminal but officials still need to identify $200 million in financing.
Funding for the new Des Moines International Airport terminal would rely on a mix of federal airport improvement grants, passenger facilities charges, airline fees, and possibly city and private funds. The authority anticipates borrowing $66 million in PFC-backed bonds and $92 million in general airport revenue bonds.
The site plan adopted by the authority marks the first step in long process aimed beginning construction in 2022, said airport executive director Kevin Foley. "It's a very big step as it gives me a definite plan to work towards but it is early in the process."
The authority will submit an updated plan to the Federal Aviation Administration and documents to airlines that operate at the airport. They have not signed off on the plan.
"We will now start trying to figure out how and where to go after the $200 million," Foley said. The authority hopes to begin work on the design of the terminal in 2018.
One potential source is the Iowa Reinvestment Act which was enacted last year and allows cities to tap property tax dollars for tourism and economic development related projects. The airport sits on city owned land but is controlled by the authority.
The authority board last summer hired Leigh Fisher Inc. to perform a study and provide a plan depicting locations for a terminal building, general aviation facilities, cargo facilities, parking facilities, and roadway access.
They unveiled a study earlier this year and held public hearings and meetings to review airport needs ahead of the vote Tuesday.
The need for a new terminal is due to "capacity issues and the age and condition of the current terminal," Foley said. The existing terminal was built in 1948 with a major addition in the late 60s and other renovations throughout the years.
Officials say it's inadequate to handle heavy traffic, larger jets, and other passenger and airline needs such as expanded security screening, and has little room to expand gates or concourses.
"It has reached the end of its useful economic life," authority documents read. The new terminal would initially operate with 14 gates and have room to expand. The current terminal has 11 gates. The replacement terminal would be built south of the existing one.
The airport saw a record 2.2 million passengers last year, up 6% over a year earlier.
In a report released when it upgraded the airport authority to A last year, Standard & Poor's said the credit benefits from a solid origination and destination market combined with a good air trade service area economy; historically strong high debt service coverage; and a relatively low debt burden with no additional borrowing plans.
Credit challenges include competition from two nearby airports and a moderately high cost per passenger rate compared to other small-hub airports.