October 16, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking of $24.7 Million Expansion of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport

Governor Cuomo Announces Groundbreaking of $24.7 Million Expansion of Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport

Airport to be Renamed Ithaca Tompkins International Airport Upon Completion of New Customs Building

New Passenger Amenities and Addition of United Airlines Service Enhance Options for Travelers

Investments Complement "Southern Tier Soaring" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

See Project Renderings Here

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that construction has begun on the $24.7 million expansion of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. The project, set to be complete in late 2019, will expand the terminal by nearly 50 percent, including the addition of a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection building that will transform the airport into Ithaca Tompkins International Airport upon completion. Additional improvements will include new passenger amenities, such as more modern and spacious waiting areas equipped with charging stations, and post-security food and beverage options.

"The new Ithaca Tompkins International Airport will be a vital transportation hub connecting visitors from around the globe with destinations throughout the Southern Tier," Governor Cuomo said. "This transformational project will provide the region with a 21st century international gateway that will not only enhance the passenger travel experience, but also encourage new investments in Ithaca and beyond to keep the Southern Tier Soaring.


"We're transforming airports across the State to improve transportation options for travelers and enhance the overall experience," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The groundbreaking of Ithaca Tompkins Airport launches a significant expansion project that will increase the terminal by nearly half and include new passenger amenities. The new airport will help to increase the number of visitors in the region and advance the economy as part of Southern Tier Soaring."

The Governor also noted the recent inaugural United Airlines flight at the airport, which took place on October 4. The addition of this third airline builds on the state's ongoing efforts to expand the reach of transportation hubs across upstate New York.

With the addition of United Airlines, the airport now serves three major airlines with more than 650 global connections. United joins American Airlines and Delta Air Lines in servicing Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, which is experiencing significant growth. The number of passengers has increased nearly 25 percent in the last two years--a trend that is expected to continue with the airport's modernization.

The $24.7 million project to revitalize and expand the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is being supported with $14.2 million in state funding as part of the Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization Competition. The remaining funding is being supported with $10.2 million from federal government and $260,000 from Tompkins County.

To accommodate the growth, this project will expand the terminal by nearly 50 percent, including adding a new U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility. The new Customs facility, which will be directly connected to the terminal and its amenities, will allow international aircraft to fly directly to the airport instead of stopping at a different airport to clear U.S. Customs before arriving in Ithaca. This will save time and hassle for the more than 22,000 international travelers the airport accommodates annually.

The completion of the project and elimination of this travel barrier will ultimately help to enhance the region's ability to grow globally. Overall, the modern technology and energy efficiency enhancements the project will provide will better serve today's travelers.

The larger terminal will also provide more seating, six new gates, new retail opportunities and three additional passenger bridges, bringing the total number of passenger bridges at the airport to four. It also will enhance security and improve service to international travelers.

The new Ithaca Tompkins International Airport will be a vital transportation hub connecting visitors from around the globe with destinations throughout the Southern Tier.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Facility upgrades will include:

  • Major security enhancements, including relocating TSA baggage screening and updating it to be compliant with post-9/11 security requirements, as well as adding another lane for passenger security screening to alleviate wait times.
  • Reconfiguration of the security checkpoint and relocation of TSA office space as part of an 8,500-square-foot expansion of the passenger hold room.
  • Reconfiguration of airline office space and expansion of baggage screening space as part of a 6,000-square-foot addition on the east side of the terminal.
  • Baggage security and check-in improvements, including relocated and upgraded baggage screening to streamline operations and improve efficiency, and a separate TSA room for staff and screening operations.
  • Three new passenger boarding bridges to accommodate jet aircraft and additional service.
  • Addition of 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.
  • Construction of a new 5,000-square-foot Federal Customs Facility.
  • Technology upgrades to include high-speed WiFi, Bluetooth connectivity and new, modern seating with charging ports and outlets.
  • Food service enhancements, such as expanding a pre-security café and adding 4,000 square feet of space for post-security food concessions.
  • Installation of 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.
  • Solar canopy covered parking system for the terminal parking lot.
  • Installation of new plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, mechanical and electrical systems.
  • Installation of a new geothermal water-source heat pump system to reduce natural gas usage for the terminal and Customs facility.
Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport

Work is expected to be completed in late 2019.

As part of a separate project to enhance the competitiveness of the region, the New York State Department of Transportation will relocate its 7.6-acre maintenance facility from its current location on Cayuga Inlet in Ithaca to the airport in 2020. The disposition of the current parcel through public auction will free up prime waterfront property for redevelopment.

With the concurrence of the Federal Aviation Administration, NYSDOT will begin construction on a new maintenance facility on a 15-acre parcel at the airport. Site clearing is expected to begin in February 2019, with exterior construction completed in late 2019 and interior construction completed by spring 2020. NYSDOT maintenance staff will work from the new residency once construction is complete. The project is the result of collaboration between the State, the FAA, Tompkins County and the town of Lansing.

DOT Acting Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "Governor Cuomo is making smart investments in airports and transportation across New York State, modernizing travel and supporting commerce for today and tomorrow. The new Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport will transform the visitor experience and will make it easier for regional businesses and universities to expand their reach across the globe."

Senator Tom O'Mara said, "The Ithaca Tompkins Airport and our entire regional aviation industry has an enormously positive economic impact across the local economy. Our regional airports create jobs, make us more competitive, and deliver economic growth and other critical opportunities to communities across the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions. These smart investments in aviation infrastructure will lead to vital short- and long-term benefits to the area, and we appreciate the state's commitment."

Senator James L. Seward said, "The Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport is a key component of our local economy and often the first stop for international students heading to our region's first class educational institutions. This expansion will boost usage, draw people from around the world, and encourage business growth throughout the region. When travelers touch down at ITH they should know they have arrived somewhere important. This transformative project will help convey that impression."

Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation Joseph E. Robach said, "As Chairman of the Senate Transportation Committee, I believe that it is critically important to invest in safety improvements and the modernization of operations for airports across New York State. We must continue to improve the economic competiveness of airports while ensuring that residents, and visitors to our great state, have the ability to use airports that are safe and efficient. Continuing to improve our state's airports is an important step to ensuring a 21st Century transportation infrastructure across New York."

Senator Pam Helming said, "This important project will drive job creation and economic development in the Finger Lakes region. Our lakes, beautiful environment, wineries, and craft breweries draw visitors from across the United States. This state investment will ensure that tourists will have access to all that our region has to offer. The Ithaca and Tompkins County region is a growing business and economic center of upstate New York, with positive job growth exceeding 8 percent over the past five years. Equally important, our local universities and business rely on the airport. Protecting Cayuga Lake is a top priority, and this project will help achieve this objective. I appreciate the efforts of Governor Cuomo and my legislative colleagues in making this project a priority."

Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton said, "Today's groundbreaking for the transformation of the Ithaca Tompkins Airport is great news for Ithaca, the Southern Tier, and the state of New York. The revitalization of the airport will broaden economic and tourism opportunities across the region, helping the local and state 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 David F. Gantt said, "Today's groundbreaking cements Ithaca as a global destination for tourism and will grow our regional economy for generations to come. A modern transportation network is vital for a regional economy, and the transformation of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport will not only support economic growth, but it will also enhance the passenger experience. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his continued support for modernizing New York's infrastructure and dedication to turning this vision into a reality."

Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick said, "The Ithaca Tompkins airport is in many ways the lifeblood of industry and commerce in Ithaca because so many businesses and institutions rely on it to connect this city to the rest of the country and the world. Our expanded airport will ensure Ithaca can continue to compete and lead in the 21st century. I'm especially grateful for the support of our partners in Albany, especially Governor Cuomo, and I applaud the Governor for his commitment to this project and for consistently investing in and rejuvenating communities across Upstate New York."

Martha Robertson, Chair, Tompkins County Legislature said, "With this groundbreaking, we are building for our future and celebrating what we can achieve when local and state government work together, and when the business community and the public sector work together. Thanks to Governor Cuomo and our partners on this project, the transformation of the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport will give us an innovative, world-class airport - setting a new standard as a model of sustainability - to build on the upward trajectory and economic growth that we are currently seeing across the county and throughout the Southern Tier."

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest.

Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office


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