The community is getting in on the planning process for the future of the Palm Springs International Airport.
They want to preserve its iconic past, while keeping up with increasing tourism throughout the Valley. It's all part of the Master Plan to expand and grow the airport.
“For anybody that flies out in the height of our tourist season, you know, March and April, they'll see us people everywhere, longer lines... We're in a facility that's not really designed to handle the number of flights and passengers that we have right now," said Daniel Meier, the Deputy Director of Aviation.
Meier tells us 2022 was the busiest year on record for the airport. It’s why plans for a possible terminal expansion, or the addition of a new terminal, were at the top of Tuesday night’s discussion.
“We actually didn't forecast or return to normal, at least for passenger numbers until probably 2025. And we actually returned to pre pandemic and exceeded pre pandemic much faster than anyone really anticipated," said Meier.
The Master Plan will impact airport development over the next 20 years. For the first time, the local community got to engage in the process.
“I think it's great that we're planning ahead," said Palm Springs resident Cheryl Idell. "The planners here are taking, you know, everyone's thoughts into consideration is really giving us a lot of opportunity.”
Idell was one of dozens of residents that were a part of the open house. She believes that an airport expansion is much needed.
“A lot can change in 20 years.... when we did the last expansion, it was during a recession. And they didn't think we needed more gates. And now they did the process again, to understand what we need, and we need a lot more gates," she said.
Although the airport will be getting a revamp, they say they’re committed to preserving its Wexler Terminal that’s been around since the 1960’s.
“They're looking at a lot of different ways to accomplish the goal of increasing capacity in a way that keeps the character, the open courtyard. That feeling that we have, that makes it like no place else when you arrive here. So it's nice that they're looking at ways to do that, in a sense, sensitive way," said Palm Springs resident Tim O’Bailey.
The Federal Aviation Administration recommends that public airports prepare a new master plan every seven to ten years. Palm Springs City Council is expected to vote on a final master plan by 2025.