Bangor International Airport in Bangor, Maine. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The Bangor International Airport will use $14.2 million in federal funding it received Thursday to expand its security screening area, replace a connector between its two terminal buildings and upgrade its aging HVAC system.

The money will come from the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package that Congress passed late last fall, according to Sen. Susan Collins’ office.

The airport doesn’t have a tentative timeline of when that work will be completed as it still needs to put the work out to bid, but airport spokesperson Aimee Thibodeau said the construction will be scheduled to minimize the impact on passengers and airport operations.

“Not only will it allow us to bring the passenger experience to the next level, but it also allows us to replace and modernize critical portions of our aging infrastructure, improve energy efficiency, and alleviate some areas of congestion during peak travel times when passenger numbers are at their highest,” Thibodeau said.

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News of the improvements is coming as the airport prepares to repave its entire, 11,000-foot runway starting next summer as part of a $28 million project that’s expected to affect passenger traffic.

The updated connector between the domestic and international terminals will improve access to gates in both terminals, increase capacity and flexibility for air carriers and provide opportunities to boost flight service.

Though the airport doesn’t currently have any international passenger flights, the international terminal is used for military operations and as a refueling destination for international flights on their way into or out of the U.S. The airport’s large runway and location also make it a common stop for diverted planes.

The funding will also cover the replacement of a ground-level boarding gate with a new gate and jet bridge, eliminating ground boarding operations to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

“This renovation and expansion will allow us to provide even greater customer service to passengers, but also allow us to be a better environmental steward by improving the efficiency of aging utilities,” Bangor International Airport Director Tony Caruso said.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly 600,000 travelers passed through the Bangor airport each year, according to Thibodeau. Last year, the airport saw about 585,000 travelers.

The $14.2 million the Bangor airport received is a portion of the $5 billion in grant funding that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act authorized for the Federal Aviation Administration, according to Collins’ office. Collins was one of 10 senators who led negotiations on the legislation with the Biden administration.

The funding, awarded through competitive grants, is for projects that address aging infrastructure in airport terminals in the U.S., according to the FAA’s website.

“Bangor International Airport is an economic powerhouse that serves as a key gateway for visitors to Maine and connects the Bangor region to the world,” Collins said. “The upgrades and expansions that this investment will support will enhance passengers’ overall experience and allow the airport to grow its operations.  

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Kathleen O'Brien

Kathleen O'Brien is a reporter covering the Bangor area. Born and raised in Portland, she joined the Bangor Daily News in 2022 after working as a Bath-area reporter at The Times Record. She graduated from...