HILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. (WSAV) — Thirty million dollars in upgrades and renovations will transform the Hilton Head Island Airport. These plans have been in the works for some time but finally, the start of phase one construction is just right around the corner.
“We’ve had such an uptick in travel and numbers that it just cried out for an improvement in the building,” said Jon Rembold, Hilton Head Island Airport Director.
Thanks to a $30 million grant, the airport will add new TSA screening checkpoints, new boarding gates and bridges. The goal is to get more people through the airports and on flights quicker.
Passengers will also have more space and more things to do while they wait to take off. The airport wants to have the feel of a hometown airport but operate like a major one.
“We’ve also got a huge influx of tourists during the season as well. So we found that we just need a lot more space for the folks during the summertime,” Rembold said. “So that’s a big part of it, but we just want to make sure that the folks here on the island have the experience that they deserve in their hometown airport.”
Beaufort County has grown significantly in the past decade. Also, more and more people are choosing to vacation in the Lowcountry, and with more people, the terminal at the airport has seen more use.
“I think in some part the growth does kind of correlate to the necessary improvements at the airport,” Rembold said. “Some of that growth is folks who come in spend some time and then they leave. And some of that is just because we have had an influx in residents to particular southern Beaufort County.”
The improvements should be completed in the next two years. The money for phase one of the improvements comes from both the FAA and state funds. The airport said the terminal was designed by the community and airline representatives to make sure it’s user-friendly.
“What we want to do is provide that very convenient hometown airport to those folks. Driving to the airports is not always convenient and it’s not as fast as it used to be. So we’re here to provide that local option,” Rembold said.
Not only are they hoping to improve the experience for flyers they also say the airport will have more room for local businesses. The airport told WSAV they’ve been teasing details for some time but now they’re excited to finally put shovels into the dirt.