New downtown airport terminal

MOBILE, Ala (WALA) -- The Mobile Airport Authority is moving full steam ahead on a plan to close Mobile Regional Airport and move commercial flights to Brookley Field, and it is all centered around a new terminal.

The project is still a few years from being completed, but the airport authority is vowing to build a $160 million eight-gate terminal just steps from where the temporary Downtown Terminal sits.

It is a plan on paper for now, but in a few years the Mobile Airport Authority hopes to make it reality with a new terminal and possibly a new name: Brookley Field International Airport.

“I’m very excited and this is a transformational project,” said Chris Curry, president of the Mobile Airport Authority.

The airport authority announced its master plan on Tuesday.

It is all centering around moving commercial flight operations from the regional airport to Brookley.

“None of the airlines I have met with in the last three years are interested in adding new destinations or serving the Mobile Regional Airport because the access to the airport is not easy,” Curry said.

A study found that 55% of people who should use Mobile airports, do not. The hope is the move will get new carriers to increase competition and reduce fares.

“We believe that the airlines will look at it is a win win for them,” said Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson. “It’s a win win for all the citizens that are buying the tickets.”

“Time is money so when you can curtail, you can shorten the time of travel it’s a benefit to the business traveler,” said Bob Chappelle with the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce.

The airport authority said that moving all commercial flights to Brookley is not expected to increase noise in the area.

Besides a new terminal and parking garage, they will be building a new air traffic control tower.

“I think it will be even more exciting when we get a concept rendering of how it will look and then it will be even more exciting when we can walk through a physical terminal,” Curry said.

The Mobile Airport Authority hopes to have the new terminal built and service starting from Brookley within the next five years.

The master plan which looks at developing the airport over the next 20 years is expected to cost about $400 million. 

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