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C/NCIA monthly passengers are on the rise but construction is what’s keeping it busy

C/NCIA's logo as you enter the airport.
C/NCIA's logo as you enter the airport.(Will Thomas)
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 6:46 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - At the beginning of the pandemic, Casper/Natrona County International Airport went from seeing thousands of passengers a month, to a couple hundred.

“April was the worst month. I think we were down to about 350 passengers compared to probably about 8,500 which would have been a normal year. Then May got better, we were about to 1,100 passengers in May and we’re thinking we might hit 2,000 in June,” said C/NCIA Director, Glenn Januska.

Januska said as people become more comfortable with traveling again, and more populated areas start re-opening, passenger counts will continue to rise. He said C/NCIA is following state safety guidelines but wants the community to know, the guidelines inside the airport may be different from the airline’s.

“Getting on board an airline is not a passenger right, it’s not a person’s right, it’s still at the discretion of the airlines. So if somebody comes in and says, hey I know that x, y, z airline’s gonna require this, but I’m not gonna do it, I’m gonna take my mask off during the flight, they’re gonna have some consequences for that but all that guidance will be the guidance of the airlines,” said Januska.

The pandemic isn’t the only reason you’ll see changes at C/NCIA, Januska said there are nine construction projects in progress. Those include: aircraft parking ramp, Aircraft Rescue Fire Fighting Training Facility and Classroom, ARFF vehicle and equipment, plow/broom combo, replace roof section, gate holding area expansion, passenger boarding bridge, new PA system, sealcoat and mark pavements, crack seal pavement, terminal building sprinkler.

The projects total $19,215.000 and there are three other projects that will be constructed later this year or in 2021. Januska said most of the projects don’t depend on operating costs, or were already funded before the pandemic.

Though much of the work will be behind the scenes, passengers won’t miss the expansions in the gate holding area.

“We knew bathrooms were not adequate, we knew some of the amenities passengers were looking for, we knew that we didn’t want to have passengers walking across the ramp to get to an airplane and we needed more seats. So when we looked at this project, we said we needed a project that is going to take care of all those,” said Januska.

Januska said they didn’t start this project because of COVID-19 but the additional space will allow people to be spread out a lot more.

The projects won’t only help the airport itself, but its first responders as well.

Like many airports, C/NCIA has its own Airport Rescue Firefighters. Each year they have to be re-certified in putting out an aircraft fire. Though C/NCIA has had its own training facility for more than 20 years, it began having maintenance issues.

Januska said when they were discussing what to do, other training facilities in surrounding states became unavailable.

“A training facility in Salt Lake City closed and a training facility in Denver got restrictive. So we work with the FAA on getting funding for it so we’re constructing a new aircraft rescue firefighting training facility which trains people from all across the country,” said Januska.

Not only is there a training facility, but a new vehicle and equipment as well.

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