Akron-Canton Airport Breaks Ground on Expansion

Akron-Canton Airport Breaks Ground on $34M Expansion

NORTH CANTON, Ohio – A 10-year, $110 million capital improvement campaign nears its end as the Akron-Canton Airport broke ground yesterday on a $34 million gate modernization project.

It’s the final element in the 10-project campaign dubbed “CAK 2018,” which has included a runway extension, new entrance road, additional parking, terminal building improvements and a modern ticket wing. The gate project replaces gates that have been in place since the terminals expansion in 1962.

The airport has worked to maintain and improve the gates that American Airlines and Delta Airlines currently use, however the gates cannot accommodate modern aircraft, the airport reported in a release.

“As we see northeast Ohio advancing from an economic and tourism standpoint, we need to be ready,” said Rick McQueen, president and CEO of Akron-Canton Airport. “We intend for the facility to be a warm and welcoming first impression for travelers, just like the region. We also know that projects of this scale take a long time to get off the ground, so despite some air service challenges, this is the right time to move forward with construction.”

The project includes three phases. The first phase involves utility and drainage work, as well as the construction of a 22,900-square-yard concrete aircraft parking apron with 15-inch-thick sections in some places.

The second phase includes construction of the new gates, including a two-level, 41,600-square-foot concourse, similar to the airport’s existing second-floor gates. Phase three consists of the demolition of the old gate complex, allowing for 7,500 square yards of aircraft parking apron.

“The Akron-Canton Airport is one of our region’s top assets to help fuel economic growth,” said Dennis P. Saunier, president and CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, who was on hand for the ground-breaking. “The Airport’s continued commitment to modernization and expansion is essential in our regional efforts to attract and retain businesses, as well as increase tourism and leisure travel.”

McQueen said passengers won’t be impacted by the work.

“Most customers won’t realize construction is occurring until they’re taxiing away, as it will be done off the south end of the existing gates,” he said.

Other project plans include improved amenities, such as larger restrooms, more seating and power outlets, and new food and beverage options such as a sit-down restaurant and large bar within the gate area as well as fast food options like Cinnabon and Arby’s. A free business lounge will be added, as will a pet relief area, mother’s room and Kids PlayPort.

Each gate will feature jet bridges, so passengers won’t have to move from tarmac to aircraft during inclement weather. Akron-Canton expects the new gates to be open by late fall 2019 or spring 2020, depending on weather. In the release, McQueen praised the airport’s board of directors for its support.

“Their vision has kept us focused on what’s important for the customer and the community,” he said. “We are all ecstatic for the future of CAK and know we are departing on the correct path.”

In June, United Airlines launched its inaugural nonstop, daily flight to Houston from Akron-Canton Airport. It’s the eighth daily flight for United from CAK, including five to Chicago and two to Newark. American Airlines also added a third daily trip to Chicago. Akron-Canton offers 26 daily, nonstop flights to 12 destinations.

Pictured: Mayor Gerard Neugebauer, mayor of Green; Robert G. Konstand, CAK board member; Ilene Shapiro, Summit County executive; State Rep. Anthony DeVitis R-36; Christopher Holder, CAK board chairman; Rick McQueen, president and CEO of the Akron-Canton Airport; U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-7 Ohio; John Wirtz, CAK board member; Jack Timken, CAK board member; Denny Saunier, president of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.