Merced airport terminal project to usher in new transportation era, city says

City leaders and community members gathered to break ground on a $17 million terminal replacement project at the Merced Yosemite Regional Airport on Thursday. The new airport terminal is planned for the site of the former Hanger BBQ, according to Deputy City Manager Frank Quintero. It will have a dedicated TSA area, updated passenger areas, aviation and airport administration offices as well as upgrades to services in an effort to enhance the overall experience for airline passengers. The project will also include updates to the existing terminal built in the 1940s.

“Our airport is a diamond in the rough, said Quintero. “It’s a gem that has really not been appreciated but now we’re calling attention to it because we want to take it to the next level and that’s what this project is going to do.”

The total cost of the project is expected to be about $17 million for the 11,000 square-foot facility. According to Quintero, roughly $14 million comes from a Federal Aviation Administration grant. The project will introduce an energy-efficient and sustainable facility while meeting current and future demands and addressing the need for modernization, according to the city.

Merced Mayor Matthew Serratto called the project important saying it was one in a big line of really good city projects that are coming. According to Serrratto, the project is a step toward longer economic development, allowing Merced to truly live up to its name and to become a better gateway to Yosemite. “We’ll have planes, trains and automobiles coming here, people getting to Yosemite,” Serratto said.

According to Regional Airport Authority Chairman Bob Scoble, Merced’s airport was originally certified in 1932 and operated as an airport until about 1941-42 when the United State Army Air Corps used it as well as surrounding airports to conduct training for World War II pilots.

The airport was then returned to the City of Merced in 1945 and has continued to operate until today. The existing terminal was built by United Airlines in 1947.

Essential Air Service Provider Advanced Air, currently operates out of the airport, which is owned by the city. The airport offers daily flights to Harry Reid Airport in Las Vegas and Hawthorne Municipal Airport in Los Angeles County.



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