Gerald R. Ford Airport expanding facility operations building

Expansion is the name of the game for Gerald R. Ford International Airport, which recently has begun work on a new snow removal equipment building.

“The snow removal equipment storage facility is an $8.5 million investment that will expand the existing airfield maintenance facility by about 60,000 square feet,” says Tory Richardson, airport CEO. “This will do a lot to support critical operations to accommodate the forecasted passenger growth that we're seeing.” 

This facility will house some of the 45-plus vehicles that are used to maintain the airfield. Because the equipment will be housed in a climate-controlled facility where it is properly stored and maintained, it will be ready at a moment's notice, which is critical for the airport’s ability to remain open and safe.

“The snow removal equipment building will optimize space for the equipment and the operations to ensure the safety of the runways, taxiways and apron areas during those all weather conditions,” Richardson says. “When people are either shipping packages or flying out or expecting somebody to fly in, they can do so seamlessly.” 

Growth is behind the projects

Increased usage is driving the airport’s expansion. Richardson says passenger numbers in 2024 are about 17% above the previous year, which itself broke airport records.

“As our community grows, so does its need for the airport to connect more people and packages around the world,” he adds.

This expansion is more behind the scenes than public-facing. Snow removal is a critical support function, but passengers typically do not see the work that is done to clear the airfield. A job done well means a passenger should merely notice that everything is happening as it should and on time.

CourtesyAn artist's rendering of a new building at the Gerald R. Ford International Airport.

Richardson says the facility will house new multifunctional equipment the airport is taking on.

“One of our larger pieces of snow removal equipment can cost around $1 million, and it is much better to store it than leave it out in the elements,” Richardson says. “Expanding the facility so it can accommodate these larger pieces of equipment that are twice the size of what people would normally see out on the road will allow us to do just that. 

“Owning this equipment is a significant investment, so the facility allows for better maintenance and safety for the workers responsible for it, as they can now do their checks inside as opposed to outside in the snow and freezing rain.” 

More changes coming

This project is expected to be completed in November, just in time for the winter season, while other construction projects continue.

“To be completed later this year is an aircraft rescue firefighting facility,” Richardson says. “We are also a year into the construction of a consolidated rental car facility, and we broke ground on our terminal enhancement project, where we will be consolidating and relocating all of our ticket counter functions and building a fully automated inline explosive detection system, which is a screening system for outgoing bags.” 

New development can lead to delays and longer wait times, so the airport asks passengers to be patient.

Track the new developments at Ford International Airport here on their website.
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