RDM expansion plans get $3.6M boost from federal airport funding grant


The Redmond Airport expects to receive about $3.6 million in federal grant funding as part of the Biden Administration’s recently passed infrastructure law – a necessary financial boost as the airport looks to embark on a massive terminal expansion program.

The $15 billion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law includes $2.9 billion for airports across the nation to use for improving runways, taxiways, safety and sustainability projects, terminal improvements, airport transit connections and road work.

Oregon airports will receive about $42.2 million in airport grant money.

In November, RDM released a 100-page, five-phase Terminal Area Concept Plan that calls for a new west side departure lounge, new ticketing area, baggage claim expansion and east departure lounge expansion among other projects.

“To respond to the increase in demand the Airport recognized the need to consider elements of expansion to allow the facility to evolve and grow accordingly,” according to the executive summary of the report. “Of initial importance was the ability to provide passenger boarding bridge access to the aircraft from a new second-level departure lounge area. Enlarging this airside element necessitated a review of all other landside and airside processing components to ensure that the facility remains balanced as it develops.”

Redmond Airport Director Zachary Bass said Thursday that phase one of the project is the most necessary and would include a buildout of the second floor, adding 50,000-square feet, additional retail, and concessions, and six jet bridges.

It’s still early in the process, but he hoped construction on that phase would begin in spring 2023.

All five phases of the lengthy project could cost more than $202 million.

• Phase 1: West departure lounge expansion and utility plant relocation

• Phase 2: Ticket area/ATO expansion and build-out

• Phase 3: Baggage claim expansion and reconfiguration

• Phase 4: East departure lounge expansion

• Phase 5: Interior reconfiguration and administration build-out

According to the expansion plan report, RDM saw more than 482,700 enplanements in 2019 – air travel numbers officials there weren’t expecting to see until 2024.

The airport expects those numbers to jump to more than 830,000 by 2036.

Bass said the airport has grown 100% in the last five years and customers can see that growth every day, especially early in the morning.

“We need to expand to be able to accommodate more aircraft, more destinations, and more customers,” he said, adding the airport also needed to give customers the retail and concession options they have come to expect.

Bass said he planned to release more information about the plan in early 2022.

The federal airport grants will also help Central Oregon’s other airports.

The Bend Airport is slated to receive $763,000 while the airports in Madras and Prineville expect to get $159,000.


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