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Terminal Naming a Tribute to Former Congressman
(News Article from The Scranton Times, October 25, 2003)

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport's new terminal is key to the airport's and the region's future, officials say.

But to reach that future, those officials won't forget the past.

At the groundbreaking ceremony Friday for the terminal, officials unveiled the name - the Joseph M. McDade Terminal Building - in honor of Northeastern Pennsylvania's former longtime 10th District congressman.

Mr. McDade, now a Washington, D.C., area consultant was present for the chilly, sunny afternoon ceremony.

"You're not supposed to be speechless when you're in politics," he said when he took the podium. "I'm the exception."

Construction will begin soon on the two-level, 127,000-square-foot terminal next to the current terminal.

The structure of concrete, steel and glass, scheduled for completion in about two years, will include a concourse with eight boarding gates. Six of the boarding gates will include passenger boarding bridges. The building will also include general circulation and holding areas.

The main level of the terminal will include airline ticketing, ticket queuing and baggage claim and rental car counter areas. Upstairs, people can greet passengers arriving at the airport, grab dinner or a snack or visit the newsstand/gift shop.

This new building will replace the existing terminal, which was built in 1959 and renovated in 1982 and 1991.

The terminal and accompanying apron are the final part of the airport expansion.

The planning for the expansion dates back to 1993, and it was Mr. McDade who led the way, said Lackawanna County Commissioner Joseph J. Corcoran, chairman of the Airport's Bi-County Board of Commissioners. But he told the small crowd of dignitaries and local officials the project represents cooperation among all levels of government.

That $63 million project, which includes $43.7 million for the new terminal and apron, is essential to the region's economic development, said U.S. Rep Paul E. Kanjorski, D-Nanticoke.

"When we relate this to the highways, the future railroad system, we're going to be competitive with any area of the United States for the best jobs," Mr. Kanjorski said.

After the ceremony, Mr. Kanjorski said the "modern. eye-catching" terminal would pave the way for direct and indirect economic development.

"If there is no competent air service, we're going to be left behind," he said.

Mr. McDade said the expansion would help draw more passengers.

It's not going to happen overnight," said Mr. McDade. "The airline industry is in chaos."

He said he favors giving limited monopolies to airlines, allowing them access to major routes if they also cover smaller routes.

The airport began the expansion construction work about two years ago. Workers recently finished the new 246,800-square-foot, four-level parking garage and new parking lots. Construction crews are now working on a pedestrian tunnel that will connect the parking garage and lots with the new terminal.

About 10 months from now, work will start on the apron improvements near the new terminal. Both should be finished by the fall of 2005, Airport Director Barry J. Centini has said.

The Airport and Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties will pay $5 million of the cost. Most of the funding, $28.4 million, will come from the federal government; $6.7 million will come from the state, and another $3.6 million will come from revenue raised through the $4.50 passenger facility charge tacked on to each ticket.

Construction of the parking garage, new lot, roadways and some electrical work in the airfield totaled about $20 million.

Overall for the project, federal grants are paying nearly $38.3 million; the state is funding $10.9 million, and Lackawanna and Luzerne Counties and the Airport are funding nearly $13.8 million.