CHEEKTOWAGA, NY (WKBW) – Buffalo Niagara International Airport has officially unveiled its new terminal. The $ 71.7 million airport upgrades were made to improve travel concerns including safety, pedestrian traffic, curb congestion and baggage claim capacity.
The new terminal comes as travel has not fully recovered from the pandemic. NFTA Executive Director Kim Minkel said before March 2020 that BNIA was a gateway to five million travelers per year.
Minkel said the airport again had 60% of the travelers BNIA had before the pandemic, or about 5,000 passengers per day.
“If you take a look at our parking lots, they are full again,” Minkel said. “I think there is a pent-up demand from people who want to travel and who want to be outside. We are ready for them!
Yet most international travel to the airport is still on hold until the US-Canada border opens, which won’t be until at least July 21.
“About 30% of the people using this airport were Canadian, so we are eager to reopen the border,” Minkel said. “For our Niagara Falls airport, about 88% were Canadian. Of course, this airport is feeling the effects of the border closure. “
Minkel said she believes BNIA played a role in Buffalo’s economic boom over the past ten years.
“This airport contributes more than a billion dollars each year to economic activity,” said Minkel. “Having a first-class airport is so important for economic development. “
Most airport passengers go to New York, Chicago or Washington DC But, Minkel said direct flights to San Francisco and Europe are on the airport’s wish list.