Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport Plans Major Expansion

“The Moscow and Pullman area is very resilient,” Kevin Mulcaster, consultant with Mead and Hunt for the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport said.

At an open house exhibit on Thursday night at the Best Western University Plus Inn in Moscow, the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (PMRA) showcased plans to open a new airport terminal by the winter of 2023.

The new terminal will feature a multi-level building, more parking, a welcome center representative of the Palouse, allow for more expansion in the future, improve employment, encourage education and tourism and allow for the possible addition of more airlines to service the area. It will also mitigate the undersized security in the existing terminal and will have enough space to accommodate a larger passenger demand.

The whole project is estimated to total 49.2 million dollars. The PMRA has received 42 million dollars in federal funding from the CARES Act funding and the FAA AIP Program for the completion of the new terminal.

Image of Plans for Future Expanded Terminal

With the recent completion of the runway realignment program in 2019, the airport has decided that Pullman, Moscow and the surrounding areas on the Palouse have outgrown the existing PMRA terminal, which was built in 1990, due to exponential passenger growth. In 2009, they enplaned 30,128 passengers and in 2019 they enplaned 70,061 passengers.

With plans for construction to start on the new terminal this year and be completed by the end of 2023, the project will extend over two years.

Damon Smith, also a consultant with Mead and Hunt, explained that this project has been long in the making.

“We started talking about the need 10 years ago,” Smith said.

Smith said that the new terminal will serve not only Moscow, Pullman and the surrounding areas, but will be supported by local and out-of-town business people and majorly facilitate the travel of Washington State University and the University of Idaho athletic teams.

Open house exhibit on Thursday night at the Best Western University Inn

Due to COVID-19, the PMRA went from its normal four to five round trips to Seattle per day to three. Although their travel rates dipped, they expect their regular travel to be back to normal by 2023 when the new terminal opens. 

Mulcaster explained that when they started to plan the new terminal in the midst of COVID-19, they looked at the attacks on Sept. 9, 2001 and the great recession in 2008 in relation to the Palouse and surrounding communities. He said that Moscow and Pullman recovered much faster than the rest of the nation after those events. Because of the community’s history of bouncing back after these two historical events, Mulcaster said they are confident that the community will do the same again after COVID-19, leading to future growth for the airport.

In addition, a statement on the PMRA website explained that all indicators point to growth for the airport.

“This growth is attributed to the continued economic growth of the region, the improved all-weather reliability of the Airport resulting from the runway realignment program, the anticipated addition of twice daily non-stop jet service to Denver, and potential for additional destinations being added to other Northwest cities,” the statement said.

To find more details, visit http://www.flypuw.com/

Find the PMRA statement here: http://www.flypuw.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Draft-terminal-open-houseFinal.pdf

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