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Airport authority wants public to weigh in on its LVIA master plan

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Photo courtesy of Marco Calderon Photography/Lehigh Valley International Airport
Photo courtesy of Marco Calderon Photography/Lehigh Valley International Airport

Officials who operate the Greater Lehigh Valley’s flagship airport are offering the public a chance to see and hear about its development plans for the next 25 years.

Before they submit their master plan for Lehigh Valley International Airport to the Federal Aviation Administration, officials from the Lehigh Northampton Airport Authority want to share the details with the public by hosting a master plan update public workshop on May 10.

The event is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on the second floor of the main terminal at LVIA.

Officials made the announcement at the board of governors meeting this week.

The development plan, still in draft form, shows not only reconstruction projects planned for the next five years, but other projects in spans of six to 10 years, 11 to 22 and 23 to 25 years out, including the potential for a third runway. The demand driven by passenger traffic as well as general aviation and cargo activity are some of the main factors that would determine what gets built and when.

“The master plan is driven by forecasting,” said Tom Stoudt, executive director of the airport authority. “It’s ultimately data driven. There is a scientific approach to what we are building and when. The second piece is we want to be sensitive to the community.”

The airport authority has to be very judicious in where it invests, Stoudt said. If a project is on paper, that just means it is the airport authority’s “best guess at the time” and the document is still in draft form, he noted.

Stoudt said the airport authority wants the community to understand what the airport’s perspective is on development, even long-term.

A significant portion of what the airport is looking to do is rebuilding, Stoudt said.

“A lot of the first five years is reconstruction,” said Marc Champigny, aviation planning group manager for C&S Companies, a consulting firm based in Albany N.Y.

Champigny said that he had been meeting with a stakeholders group that includes business leaders in the community to go over the master plan, which he described as a preferred development concept.

Beyond the five-year outlook, other projects call for such items as expansion of cargo facilities and hangar construction.

“We try to get a vision for what this place would look like in 20 years,” Champigny said. “The best is to come up with a flexible plan, so all of this is demand driven.”

Opportunities also include concourse and terminal improvements and developing non-aeronautical revenue sources, Champigny said.

Aside from a conceptual map of the master plan, other exhibits will include data from the regional context, an inventory of the facilities and aircraft forecast information.

The next steps in finalizing the master plan involve completing a financial analysis and modeling to determine how to pay for the projects outlined in the plan, Champigny said.

The airport authority last updated the master plan in 2004. It also conducted a public workshop on the master plan early last year.

The public can also leave comments regarding the master plan for review. All attendees will have their parking stubs validated for the May 10 workshop.

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Brian Pedersen

Brian Pedersen

Reporter Brian Pedersen covers construction, development, warehousing and real estate and keeps you up to date on the changing landscape of our community. He can be reached at brianp@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4108. Follow him on Twitter @BrianLehigh and read his blog, “Can You Dig It,” at http://www.lvb.com/section/can-you-dig-it.

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