Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport terminal project nears completion

Exterior view of an airport as seen from the tarmac.
The new terminal at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport (PUW) is scheduled to open May 22, 2024 after two years of construction. (photo by WSU Photo Services)

The Palouse’s new air travel hub is nearing completion and set to open to the public later this month.

The Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport’s new 47,000 square foot terminal is opening May 22 after two years of construction. The $92 million project includes a brand new terminal nearly six times larger than the existing structure, as well as an additional 4,500 square foot expansion debuting later this summer.

Airport officials hosted a pre-opening tour of the new facility for Palouse-area media on Tuesday.

The new terminal includes capacity for three ticket counters, two TSA screening lanes and three rental car counters. Private charter security screenings will also be available in August with the completion of the western expansion. Passengers arriving into Pullman will no longer have to brave the weather conditions outside, and will instead pass through a modern security gate inside the terminal building.

In spite of the changes, Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport Board Chair and Pullman Mayor Francis Benjamin said the security experience is still likely to be the fastest passengers have experienced with air travel.

References to the Palouse and its institutions of higher education will be evident throughout the new airport. Artistic depictions of the Palouse punctuate each ticket counter, while Washington State University and University of Idaho iconography will be visible throughout the site. Glenn Johnson, longtime Pullman mayor and voice of the Cougs, welcomes visitors to the terminal and provides pre-boarding instructions.

WSU and UI, both heavy users of the airport, provided a joint $1 million in support for the project in 2021, with the cities of Pullman and Moscow contributing a further $2 million each.

Art Bettge, vice-chair of the airport board, noted during a tour of the facility that between the new terminal and the runway project completed in 2022, the Palouse has seen $250 million in investments for a local cost of about $18 million. The lion’s share of the two project’s funding has come from federal sources.

Unlike most airports, summer represents a slowdown for the airport, giving staff time to adjust to the new facilities before the number of flights is expected to pick up in the fall. The airport currently offers two flights to Seattle daily through Aug. 15, with that number rising to five or six thereafter with the addition of a daily flight to Boise. Additional destinations are also being considered.

The new terminal includes seating for upwards of 160 people, an outdoor seating area, a service animal relief area, and space for concessions both pre- and post-security screening. Approximately 70 people work at the airport, with additional staffing needs likely once the new terminal is fully online.

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