With growing demand for flights out of regional airports and increased flight traffic driven by Verona-based Epic Systems, the Dane County Regional Airport plans to invest $30 million to build an expanded three-level parking addition by the end of 2014.
Dane County Regional Airport’s current parking structure is full every day of the week, Dane County Supervisor Jeff Pertl, District 17, said in an email to The Badger Herald, citing an increase in passengers conducting business with Epic, which makes up 10 to 15 percent of all airport traffic.
Kim Jones, deputy director of Dane County Regional Airport, added in addition to Epic traffic, the airport has seen passenger growth from all areas of the Madison community.
With recent major airline mergers, Madison’s larger competitor airports have fewer available passenger seats with higher airfare rates, Jones said.
As passengers are less motivated to travel long distances out of the larger airports, Jones said Dane County has seen a rise in traffic, which the current parking building cannot accomodate.
Pertl said the airport has added new or expanded direct flights to Orlando, Dallas, New York, Washington, D.C. and Salt Lake City to accommodate the increase in demand.
According to Pertl, the current structure was initially designed with the intention of a future expansion.
“Dane County has a really great airport and demand for flights has been increasing 4 to 6 percent a year, well above the national average,” Pertl said.
Jones said the airport examined passenger traffic at the Dane County Regional Airport and concluded the need for a parking expansion.
“We have had passenger growth over the last couple of years and the determination was that we have a greater demand for covered parking than what we can meet at this time,” Jones said.
According to a statement from Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, the proposal will add 1,600 more parking stalls and also bring more jobs to the county.
Jones added the project will also increase the traffic flow of passengers coming in and out of the Madison airport.
Although the Airport Commission is still considering several models for the expansion, the project is expected to be complete by late 2014, Pertl said.