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Bids sent out for design phase of new airport terminal at Griffiss

By Gary Liberatore

(WKTV) - In January, the Oneida County Legislature voted to bond out money to build a new airport terminal at Griffiss International Airport in Rome.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente says that decision was made in hopes that the new terminal, along with the 1,500 jobs being created from the new QUAD-C Building at SUNYIT and other expected nanotechnology jobs to follow, will be enough to lure a commercial airline to once again fly out of Oneida County.

"There's not a week that goes by that we don't get a letter, or an email or call that asks about commercial traffic," Picente said.

Picente says bids were sent out this past week for the design phase of the the new airport terminal.  

"Over the next few months, we'll accept those bids and start going out to bid for actual construction," Picente added.

Picente says after an Air Service Feasibility Study was completed in 2012 that showed there is a need and a demand for commercial service in Oneida County, he talked with several airlines about that study, and was actually very close to having Allegiant Air signing on the dotted line, but at the last minute, Allegiant chose Syracuse.

The county executive believes Allegiant Air's decision was due in part to the fact that they would have to use a temporary terminal until a permanent terminal was built.

"It's one of those things that airlines make decisions in a short span, and they're not going to look at you and say, 'Call us in a couple of years when you get a building,' " he said.

"We need the building, we need the amenities, to go along with that.  We need the baggage claim area, we need the type of setup that you have to be ready for to attract an airline.  You can't say 'Come here and we'll build,' it is one of those things where you have to be set up, and we're taking those steps."

Picente says if all goes well, we could actually see a commercial airline set up shop at Griffiss sometime late next year.

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