Growth projected for Yakima Airport - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Growth projected for Yakima Airport

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YAKIMA, Wash.-- The Yakima Airport was the topic of conversation Tuesday at a joint study session with the Yakima City Council and county commissioners.

They got an update on the airport's new master plan, and what the new city manager thinks should be done.

Tony 'O'Rourke is jumping into a lot of issues facing the city, and the airport was the topic of conversation for county commissioners and the city council.

"As the city and county continues to grow, I mean its population, if nothing else, the number of operations, the passengers that you're going to have in and out of your airport should increase right along with the community," said  Yakima Airport Manager, Lee Rommel.

The airport master plan forecasts a more than 200% growth in passenger demand at the airport by 2030. And with that demand, the need for improvements, in the terminal, on the runway, and around the airport are needed.

"What's going to drive that growth? Clearly, commercial air service is going to be the predominant driver of that growth," said O'Rourke.

Along with the master plan, city and county officials heard from O'Rourke on several other airport issues he thinks need to be tackled. And getting more air service to Yakima, is at the top of his list.

"We need to make plans to facilitate attracting and retaining commercial air service above what we currently have in Yakima," he said.

During his time in Colorado, O'Rourke helped grow air travel there, bringing with it a half a billion dollar economic impact.

"The airport is a major economic development instrument that we simply need to leverage and grow," said O'Rourke.

As for the master plan, city and county officials are looking at several possibilities for the airport including extending a runway, and rebuilding the terminal.

No decisions have been made yet but we will stay on top of this, and bring you updates as they unfold.