PIA moving forward with international arrivals facility

Jul 31, 2013

General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport terminal
Credit Peoria Area Chamber of Commerce
The Peoria International Airport is moving forward with a facility that could soon allow it to accept international commercial flights.

The Metropolitan Airport Authority of Peoria approved a 575-thousand dollar contract for a consultant to come up with construction drawings for the building. The primary purpose of international arrivals facility is to update the airport’s Port of Entry. U.S. Customs and Border Protection have said the airport’s original port that accepts cargo, charter and corporate flights is not up to code.

The facility may also be able to accept international commercial flights. But Airport Director Gene Olson says the building would need enough Customs staff to accept international flights.

“That’s going to be our biggest hurdle going forward. We’re working closely with customs to let them know what our need is, and to let them know how important this is to the airport. We’re also working with our congressional delegation. They’ve been extremely helpful. We’re trying to work together with them and try to figure out how we get this done.” 

Olson says Customs is understaffed at existing airports, so getting the agency to man the Peoria Airport could be an uphill battle. The international arrivals facility will also be able to house additional gate capacity, which the airport needs for additional domestic flights. The construction drawings are to be completed within nine-months. Construction on the facility could be done in two years.