It's a busy holiday weekend at Syracuse's Hancock Airport, which finds itself in the midst of both physical and administrative changes. YNN's Bill Carey says the clock is ticking on those changes.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- For passengers, the change may go unnoticed. But eventually, city leaders hope the change of Hancock Airport's management will cut costs for the city and for the airlines and, in turn, mean lower fares for travelers here.
The movement to hand off control of the airport from the city to an independent airport authority is well underway, due to be complete in a little over a year.
“Once an agreement is reached between the city and the authority, once the common council has approved it, it then goes to the FAA for final approval. And at that point, the authority would be issued the airport's operating certificate,” said Syracuse Aviation Commissioner Christina Reale.
The agreement is complicated, but so too are the steps to physically change the way the airport operates. A plan to move from Syracuse Police patrols to a private security system on June 1st is already being delayed a month. The biggest issue was recruiting off-duty police officers and sheriff's deputies to fill out manpower needs. And then, there's the paperwork.
Reale said, “Submitting it to TSA, so that they approve this new security protocol. They now have that and they're reviewing that. And then, on the logistical side, we have things like vehicles and office space, computers, and just putting all the pieces together. So, an extra 30 days is going to be helpful.”
And the administrative changes are not the only changes taking place here at Hancock. There's also a major overhaul underway of the terminal building.
Construction has been underway for months, transforming the terminal building. Changing the way travelers will someday get to their planes.
“Where now you use one of two checkpoints, depending on the airline, everyone will utilize the new, central checkpoints. And then access their gates beyond the checkpoints. That's really going, that's the focal point of this project. The new checkpoints,” Reale said.
And the work will take some time to complete.
Reale said, “Well, we're saying fourth quarter of 2013. So, sometime toward the end of next year.”
When a new look will come to an airport, run in a new way.