The North Dakota Museum of Art added beauty to the bare walls of our new terminal last week. Four large paintings by award-winning advertising and editorial photographer Sheldon Secunda were loaned to us indefinitely. The paintings depict aerial views of farmland in the United States with features like fields, meandering rivers (like our nearby Red River), highways, irrigation circles, ponds and even tiny farmsteads. To see these masterpieces up close would give you the best experience, so be sure to view them the next time you’re out at the airport.
The old terminal will be torn down starting tomorrow. Crews have been working for a month tearing out the old parking lot and repositioning security fencing behind the old terminal building. Once the building is torn into, it will be only days before there is nothing in the spot where passengers waited for their flights for almost 50 years. Built in 1963, the 7,400 square foot building was expanded four times and ended up at nearly 25,000 square feet. The terminal that replaced it last summer is over double that and has two floors.
Passenger growth is just one reason the old terminal had to be replaced. Results of a 2001 terminal study and operational assessment clearly suggested that the building was not sufficient to maintain current and future use. In early 2005, the Grand Forks Regional Airport Authority authorized the design of a new terminal to be located betweent the general aviation area and the air cargo facility with new surface parking. The new terminal construction began in July of 2009 and opened its doors on August 30, 2011. From 2000 to 2009, passenger boardings were averaging around 88,000. In the years since, record numbers boarded planes at GFK: 117,855 in 2010; 118,984 in 2011; and they’re projecting another record this year.
The demolition of the once beloved terminal will be a bittersweet event for those who worked there for many years. The old building could now be thought of as “quaint”. The car rental agents were just an arm’s length away from the airline ticket agents and the ticket agents were even closer than that to the TSA agents. The camaraderie they used to have has all but faded in the new building, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t happy with the spaciousness of the new terminal – the space was much needed. Besides that, the beautifully designed new terminal’s natural lighting, state-of-the-art technology, top notch grill & bar, and increased passenger traffic has been a welcome change to airport staff and passengers alike.
The old terminal served our community well, and although we hate to say goodbye, the time has come. Read more about the old terminal’s history on our website’s history page.
The Grand Forks International Airport is pleased to announce it has just set a monthly boarding record of 14,582 passengers for the month of March.
This shattered the previous record of 12,715 set back in 1992, and was a 33% increase over March boardings from 2011.
Delta Air Lines provided six daily flights from Grand Forks to Minneapolis while Allegiant Travel boosted its flights from six to twelve each week in March; four to each destination city out of Grand Forks (Orlando, Las Vegas and Phoenix/Mesa).
Executive Director Patrick Dame states: “This has been an outstanding month for us as we continue working to improve and increase service to our customers. We greatly appreciate the support of our customers and their use of the Grand Forks International Airport. We could not do it without them.”
Frank Argenziano, Assistant Director of Aviation Safety at UND Aerospace, was awarded the Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” Award on March 6th at the Upper Midwest Aviation Symposium in Bismarck. The Charles Taylor “Master Mechanic” Award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to persons certificated under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 65. This award is named after Charles Taylor, the first aircraft mechanic, to recognize individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise while working in aviation maintenance for at least 50 years. 30 of those years must be as a FAA certified mechanic or repairman, and the remaining 20 years may be as a mechanic in the military or worked in the aviation maintenance or manufacturing industry. An applicant is ineligible if his mechanic or inspection authorization certificate has ever been revoked. A distinctive certificate signed by the FAA Administrator was issued to Frank along with a lapel pin. Frank’s name will be added to a published “Roll of Honor,” located at http://FAASafety.gov.
Charles Taylor worked for the Wright Brothers and built the first aircraft engine for the Wright Flyer. He has been called the “Unsung Hero of Aviation”, because little was mentioned about him until 20 or so years ago, and if not for him the Wright Brothers would not have made the first powered flight.
A few other individuals with ties to the Grand Forks Airport that have previously received the Charles W. Taylor Master Mechanic Award include:
Vince Buraas, Northwood, ND
Ardell Bestland, E. Grand Forks, MN
Art Tobias, Angus, MN
Les Severance, Hillsboro, ND
Frank also received a plaque from the FAA recognizing his “50 years of Dedicated Service in Aviation Safety”.