Thursday, June 1, 2017
Oakland airport continues upgrades, growth with federal funds
By Annie Sciacca
The San Jose (CA) Mercury News
Susan Fizzell, aviation project manager at the Port of Oakland, right, and Tim Criss, construction manager with Consolidated CM working for the Port of Oakland, stand on a support addition to the original structure on the second floor at Terminal One at the Oakland International Airport in Oakland, Calif., on Friday, May 27, 2016. The Oakland International Airport is getting renovations to its infrastructure and expanding in targeted areas as the airport grows in passenger traffic and as tourism ramps up in Oakland.
OAKLAND — As Oakland International Airport increases its passenger volume and number of flights and continues a series of construction projects, it now will get a boost in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airport will get $7 million from the FAA as part of the administration’s Airport Improvement Program, which will give infrastructure grants to 584 airports across the United States this year.
“The Airport Improvement Program helps to maintain our aviation infrastructure and supports safety, capacity, security and environmental improvements,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in a statement from the department Wednesday.
The grant program funds airport infrastructure projects, including work on runways, taxiways, airport signage, lighting and marking, which it said helps to create “thousands” of jobs.
The Oakland airport grant will help it to rehabilitate its main runway, Runway 12/30, to “maintain the structural integrity of the pavement and to minimize debris on the runway,” the department said.
Airports are entitled to a certain amount of funding from the airport improvement program each year, and the amount is based on passenger volume. If a capital project needs exceed the airport’s available funds, the FAA can supplement it with discretionary funding, which the FAA did for Oakland for a total of $7 million.
“I’m pleased that the Oakland International Airport will finally receive critical federal funding to improve its runway and enhance airport safety,” said Rep. Barbara Lee, (D-Oakland) in a May news release. “We must continue to make critical investments in transportation and aviation infrastructure to ensure our economic success in the 21st century.”
Keonnis Taylor, a spokeswoman for the airport, said in an email that the runway overlay is a “significant” undertaking for the airport that only happens about every 15 years. Airport staff have been preparing for the work for more than a year, and construction on the runway revamp is expected to start in September.
The work comes as the airport has launched and plans new flight routes that have boosted the number of people passing through the airport each day.
Oakland airport officials said total passengers at the airport increased 12.8 percent from the same time last year, reaching over 1 million passengers last month. The increase comes as the airport added 8.5 percent more seats through new flight services.
Passenger traffic is expected to continue to increase as the airport adds more service.
A new four-times weekly nonstop flight to London’s Gatwick Airport from airline British Airways began March 28, as did a new nonstop flight to Copenhagen on low-cost airline Norwegian.
Norwegian will also start flying to Barcelona from Oakland on June 7 and recently announced it will begin direct flights to Rome in February 2018.
Besides the runway work that the airport will undergo, it is also in the process of completing a renovation of its Terminal 1 to replace aging infrastructure and bring building systems up to code, as well as an upgrade of its international arrivals building.