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Lincoln Airport starts work on newest master plan, forecasting next 20 years

Lincoln Airport starts work on newest master plan, forecasting next 20 years
Lincoln Airport starts work on newest master plan, forecasting next 20 years(Ellis Wiltsey)
Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 9:36 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Big things are already in motion at the Lincoln Airport.

Right now, the Lincoln Airport is working with a consulting firm and the public to put together its newest master plan - one that will hopefully allow it to keep getting federal funding for an ever-expanding Lincoln.

The role of a master plan is essentially forecasting for the future.

The airport heads back to the drawing board about every five to 10 years depending on the need. The newest draft is looking at trends over the next two decades.

The report is a requirement to get grants, needed by the FAA, to approve funding for improvement projects. The money will be used mainly for infrastructure changes and repairs to runways and terminals.

It takes into account many different factors when forecasting. One of the most important is keeping tabs on how many passengers travel through Lincoln.

Coffman Associates, the firm that is helping the Lincoln Airport forecast and compiles that plan, estimates passenger numbers will increase about 27 percent in the next 20 years. That’s an increase from 173,000 to 220,000 passengers a year.

“Certainly here in Lincoln supporting the University we look at other communities with large universities and look at how their activity compares,” said Eric Pfeifer with Coffman. “We also have to factor in regional competition obviously Eppley Airfield in Omaha is a significant factor here in Lincoln.”

The firm said people rate safety, ease, and attractiveness as their top priorities when selecting airports to travel with.

So the planned $54 million expansion and renovation that was recently approved by the Airport Authority can only improve Lincoln’s chances of getting more plane traffic in the future.

This is just the first stage in the process. In another three to six months it will have a firmer idea of what the future of the airport will look like and will finalize a year from now.

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