ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It has a reputation of being one of the easiest big-city airports to travel in and out of, but the city says the Sunport needs a little TLC, and they’re planning out how to spend millions in upgrades.
Mayor R.J. Berry says the upgrades, now in the works, help travelers save time, all while giving the Sunport a much needed fresh and brighter look. At least five million people use the Sunport every year and the city says it wants to keep it looking good.
“The Albuquerque International Sunport is the front porch for our state,” said Mayor Berry in an interview with KRQE News 13 on Thursday. “We want the best first impression we can have.”
Preliminary renderings show how the city’s now planning out 16-million dollars worth of remodeling and new construction at the state’s largest airport. The city says the work will give the Sunport both mechanical and visual upgrades.
“It’s all part of upkeep, improvements and making sure we’re putting the best face on Albuquerque that we possibly can,” said Mayor Berry.
While crews still have a ways before construction begins, the work is focusing on four areas.
First, the city will target the drop-off or “departures” area.
“We’re going to do some additional shade type structures,” said Mayor Berry.
With the overhead shade upgrades, the city will also update airline signage, the doorway overhangs and wide entry ways.
Just past the doors, the city is planning to add new lights with additional front door skylights.
Ticketing areas are the second focus. Mayor Berry says those could get passengers moving faster.
“We’re going to have some new ticketing kiosks, we’re going to redo the ticketing counters, so hopefully we can smooth that transition of getting your boarding passes and those kinds of things,” said Mayor Berry.
Baggage claim is the third target. Along with a new, updated ceiling, the city will upgrade the machines.
Lastly, the city is looking to upgrade the outdoor pick-up area, or “arrivals.”
“Some redecorating, some new lighting schemes, try to brighten up especially in the area where you pick people up,” said Mayor Berry.
Some flyers don’t see a need for change.
“To me, none of that seems necessary,” said Kristin Stith of Santa Fe.
However, others like what they’re hearing.
“Absolutely, it’s always a more pleasurable experience to see something that’s good to look at,” said Greg Thomas of Phoenix, Arizona.
“Updating it, you know, might definitely give you know a more welcoming feel,” said a woman from Albuquerque.
There are other upgrades too. The city says all of it take about a year and half to finish. The city hopes to start work on all of it by next spring.
The city’s paying for all of the work through its regular Sunport revenues. They earn that money from things like charging airlines for taking off and landing and more.