The Mobile Downtown Airport has been open exactly a week, but officials are already discussing expansion plans for the terminal that hosts five Frontier flights per week to Chicago and Denver.
Mobile Airport Authority Chairman Elliot Maisel told a crowd at a ribbon-cutting of the organization’s latest facility on Wednesday that once Airbus moves out of the half of the building it used to use as a logistics center on June 30, expansion would be on the table. In addition to expansion, Masiel said the phases of the airport move could include two or three different terminals.
“This is a temporary terminal … ,” Maisel said. “We’ll have a primary and a main terminal in a few years.”
Maisel also said the MAA has already received phone calls from a primary carrier at Mobile Regional Airport inquiring about moving downtown. Maisel said the terminal wasn’t ready yet.
“We’re just getting started,” he told the crowd. “Stay tuned and come support it. We want it to transform the city and we think it can, but you have to support it.”
Maisel was one in a line of speakers asking the public to support the airport by purchasing tickets on flights from Brookley, or BFM to O’Hare International Airport in Chicago and Denver International Airport.
“We’ve got to support Frontier in order to see more flights to more destinations,” Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said.
Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Bill Sisson also urged would-be travelers to choose Frontier and the Mobile Downtown Airport.
“The phrase is ‘use it or lose it’ and we need to use it,” Sisson said. “If we can do that, we’ll get more flights to more destinations and I think we can.”
The direct flights to Denver, which opens up the West Coast market, and Chicago have already begun to pay dividends within the business and economic development community, Sisson said.
“Having non-stop flights to Denver and Chicago is important for the business community … ,” Sisson said. “It’s already getting interest for economic development.”
David Clark, Visit Mobile president and CEO, said the new airport has already helped in securing 1,400 hotel room nights from a group out of the midwest that was seeking a location for a convention in 2022.
“No pun intended, but this will give us a major lift in travel and tourism,” Clark said. “It’s a major game changer in travel and tourism.”The ribbon cutting also featured the swearing in of new MAA Police Chief Rod Young, a Theodore native. Young comes to the MAA from the Tallahassee Police Department, where he recently retired after more than two decades of service.
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