Airport renovations to enhance travel experience
Lubbock hosts more than six million visitors per year. Around 750,000 of those travel through the airport, which is 45 years old.
The city has seen 30% more visitors per year over the past decade. As development continues, the city is planning renovations for Preston Smith.
"It looks a little bit like it's dressed in a 70s leisure suit. It needs an update," Mayor Dan Pope said.
The rental car services have already been moved across from the terminals. Now, the city is finalizing plans to improve the inside.
"The things I hear is they'd like better food and beverage options at the airport. They say what can we do to update it," Pope added.
According to Mayor Pope, plans will look to consolidate baggage claim and make security as convenient as possible. The mayor wants travelers to choose to fly over drive.
"Well we want to make sure that experience at the Lubbock Airport is one that they go, I've got to get there an hour early, that's what TSA expects, but while I'm there I can get breakfast and maybe I can hear some local live music being played," Pope said.
As the airport improves, so does business in the city. According to John Osborne with the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, travel experience is important to perception.
"Are things up to date, are things vibrant, it just gives you a great impression or it could be a very bad impression of the community depending on your level of experience," Osborne described.
Osborne added travelers compliment how east it is to manage the Lubbock airport.
According to Mayor Dan Pope, the addition of direct flights to Denver and Phoenix reflects the growth of the city.
"It's only natural to start to see that there needs to be an investment in our airport to continue enhancing the traveler's experience," Osborne added.
The Mayor hopes to add more direct flights. The FAA grants the city $45 million to fund the project. Renovations are expected to begin at the end of the year or early 2020.