The first phase of updates at the Tallahassee airport is complete just in time for holiday travel.
Laura Waltke and her husband are picking their son, a member of the U.S. Navy, up from the Tallahassee airport. And Waltke says she has noticed some changes.
“It does look very attractive, we did notice that. It’s very upgraded,” Waltke says.
City Commissioner Scott Maddox says the old airport used to look very different.
“You had the different color carpet, You had one lime green wall on the left hand side. You had the 1970s game room with purple walls and pin ball machines, you had a turquoise and orange kiosk in the center selling Mexican jewelry and you had a candy machine the size of that wall on the airside in bright colors,” Maddox says.
That’s Tallahassee City Commissioner Scott Maddox. He says city officials hope the newly renovated ticketing and terminal spaces will serve as a gateway to the city.
“An airport should be a reflection of what the city is like, right? So if you go to Ashville North Carolina, you see Stone fire places. So, what are we known for in Tallahassee? We’re known for Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College, the state capital. All of that is represented on the Floors here. We’re known for a commitment to culture and you see that behind me with the art port," Maddox says.
Some of the changes at the airport include updates at the airline ticket counters and rental car counters, a new baggage handling system, a gallery space, and new flooring that features designs highlighting Tallahassee fixtures such as the Capitol building, and the area’s two Universities as well as TCC. And Director of Aviation, Chris Curry says the new sparkling floors and art gallery could eventually lead to what most travelers want—cheaper tickets.
“One of the things that we want to do is increase the amount of dwell time in an airport, right, so if a customer comes to the airport and they dwell longer, if it’s a pleasant environment, they come in, they look at the art, they spend time in the concessions, they spend money, they increase revenue in those places and it ultimately drives the cost for the airlines to operate out of the terminal down because all that revue funnels into the big pot that the airline pays in, so it’s less for them to operate from here,” Curry says.
Phase two is scheduled to begin in early January. It involves an update to the security screening area and will require reducing the number of security lines to one during the construction. Officials say that could mean longer lines in the short term, but the long term plan is to expand the number of lines from two, to three, with one line reserved for people who qualify for TSA pre-check.