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At 9:24 a.m. on Wednesday, June 8, 2022, United's flight 4645 pulled up to the passenger loading bridge at Gate A2 and the Billings Logan International Airport Terminal Expansion of Concourse A was officially open. In what might have been called a bit of a chaotic environment, passengers took in the new facility and wandered around to look at the new space.
"Wednesday morning was basically a circus," noted Airport Director Kevin Ploehn. "The plan that we implemented to get the airlines operating at the new Concourse A, was to launch all of the morning flights from the old B concourse and then start moving the airline's equipment and terminal seating from the old B concourse to the new A concourse and try to get everything set up for the noon airline bank. So the mid-morning United flight was right in the middle of that, so I am sure some of the passengers were wondering what was going on."
"We thought our plan would work out okay, but we started to see some of the holes in the Swiss cheese once we were in the middle of the move," stated Mark Evangeline, Airport Facilities Superintendent.
"With all hands on deck for the Airport and the Airlines, the old B concourse was basically a ghost town by noon," said Ploehn. "With the second half of our new terminal seating showing up the day before, we just did not have time to put it together. So, we decided to use the new seating we had and supplemented it with a majority of the old seating from the old B concourse to ensure we had enough seats for everyone. Even though it was a crazy morning, by afternoon things were humming along close to normal. Soon we will be focusing on the next phase of construction, and the construction and opening of Concourse A will be in the rear-view mirror."
According to Ploehn, the construction costs for the new facilities have totaled roughly $34 million of the estimated $60 million project. Construction will now continue in the center of the terminal. Demolition of the old Concourse B will start around August, so the new Concourse B can be built. The entire project should wrap up in late 2023 or early 2024 depending on the continuing supply chain issues.
Bar services are available at the Gateway Restaraunt on the first floor of the Airport, limited refreshments are available on the new Concourse. The new bar is expected to open within the coming weeks pending finalization of the liquor license approval with the State.