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Columbia Metropolitan Airport expansions move ahead with $5M in FAA funds

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The Columbia Metropolitan Airport has been awarded $5 million as part of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Terminal Program Fund. CAE is one of 99 airports from around the country and one of only two in South Carolina to receive funding from the 2023 program, according to a news release.

The funding will support CAEs checkpoint modernization project set to break ground this summer, the release said. The project will involve widening the checkpoint to increase the number of screening lanes, which will enable more passengers to be screened in less time.

“These funds will enhance the overall passenger experience at CAE, providing a more streamlined, effective and easy screening experience for our passengers,” said Mike Gula, the airport’s executive director. “We are thankful for this financial support to begin work and look forward to continuing to grow this airport for good.”

The current master plan for CAE predicts that the airport will exceed 800,000 enplanements in the next five years, a major driver for the current expansion project.

Recently, CAE completed the second phase of a multi-phase common use and checked baggage inspection system project in the main lobby and entrance to the airport. The common use system allows ticket desks and ticketing kiosks to operate universally no matter the airline, creating a seamless transaction process for both airlines and passengers, according to the release.

“We are regularly researching and studying ways to improve the passenger experience here at CAE,” said Frank Murray, the airport’s director of development and planning. “These funds will allow us to continue working on improvements and enhancements that will have a positive effect on our passengers’ travel journey.”

Reach Christina Lee Knauss at 803-753-4327.

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