PHOENIX — The master plan study process for Grand Canyon National Park Airport, owned and operated by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), continued with a public information workshop Aug. 24 in Phoenix.
Those attending the open house at the Capitol Historic Museum had the opportunity to review and comment on the study team’s forecast of aviation demand, assessment of current airport facility capabilities and suggested facility improvements to meet anticipated demand over the next 20 years.
The airport is the only state owned airport in Arizona and is operated by (ADOT).
In 2014, ADOT directors reported to Tusayan Town Council members that they were seeing security areas maxed out at the main terminal, which was forcing security lines to stretch to the runway, and had passengers waiting on the airport tarmac.
Safety and infrastructure concerns noted include an outdated and undersized terminal and restroom facilities and limited retail space and water system. Additionally, the directors said damaged sidewalks, retaining walls and steps leading to the entrance were slowly deteriorating. The steps were also a concern because they are not up to regulation with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and do not provide ramps to bypass the steps.
A previous plan, which included a new terminal and possibly digging a private well exclusively for airport use, is no longer valid, according to Grand Canyon Airport Manager Michael Thomas.
“The master plan will give us our capital improvement possible projects for the next five to 10 years,” Thomas said. “They’ll look at market rates on the airport, the infrastructure and utilities of the airport, they look at the inventory and the traffic you have at the airport — who’s using it and who possibly could use it.”
And if it is determined a new terminal needs to be constructed, Thomas said it could take up to 10 years for the project to be completed in order to secure funding and complete any environmental studies that may need to be made.
“If there’s going to be a terminal built at the airport, if the master plan determines that, we are talking about maybe 10 years from now,” he said.
The Federal Aviation Administration requires airports to update master plans every 10 years.
The Grand Canyon National Park Airport Master Plan Study began in fall 2015. The current phase of the study presents a preferred development concept along with potential improvements for the airport.
Grand Canyon Airport encompasses 858 acres and is the fourth busiest commercial airport in Arizona, behind Sky Harbor International Airport, Tucson International Airport and Mesa Gateway. The airport has around 330,000 flight passengers (those paying for a helicopter or airplane ride) annually.
In addition to public meetings, comments and questions can be provided to the study team online at azdot.gov/gcnairportmasterplan, by phone at (800) 574-6334 or by mail to Grand Canyon Airport Master Plan Study, c/o Coffman Associates, 4835 E. Cactus Rd., Ste. 235, Scottsdale, Arizona 85254.
More information on the Grand Canyon Airport and the master plan study can be found at azdot.gov/gcnairportmasterplan.