Preparing the Way: CAE Announces Checkpoint Expansion Project as Passenger Traffic Continues to Increase

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(Columbia, SC) – Earlier today, the Columbia Metropolitan Airport (CAE) announced that work has begun on a needed checkpoint expansion project as the airport is on track to reach a passenger traffic record by the end of 2024. 

“The time has come to expand our checkpoint to accommodate more passengers,” said President & CEO, Mike Gula. “Based on the Terminal Area Forecast issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), we’re projected to hit 1.38 million passengers by 2028. However, our data and daily tracking shows that CAE will surpass that number by the end of 2024.”

With a 16% increase over 2022’s passenger traffic, which saw 1,063,630 passengers, CAE ended 2023 with 1.2 million passengers and is currently sitting at 97% of 2019 numbers after the first quarter of 2024.

The checkpoint expansion will involve adding two additional screening lanes – increasing from two lanes to four – providing a more efficient and overall easier processing experience at security for passengers.
The expansion will also allow for a publicly accessible indoor/outdoor lounge opportunity, as well as a sensory room, a service animal relief area, a family room and other amenities for travelers.

The completed expansion will create an additional 10,000 square foot of space on the airside of terminal (post security).

Other Projects Happening Now at CAE:

In addition to the checkpoint expansion project, CAE will begin work this summer on a US Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Station.

“This station will allow Customs and Border Protection to process up to the largest cargo and general aviation aircraft,” said Frank Murray, Vice President of Planning & Engineering at CAE. “Within the station we will have a processing area for international passengers and flight crew, with offices for all Customs and Border Protection personnel. Though we receive frequent international flights already at CAE, this facility will improve the safety and security of our customs processes and enhance the customer experience for travelers choosing Columbia as their point of entry into the US.”

Another project currently taking place on the airport campus is the relocation of the Remote Transmitter/Receiver (RTR) towers. These towers provide radio communication between the Air Traffic Control and aircraft on the ground.

“With a focus on economic development opportunities across the campus, relocating these towers will open an additional 60 acres of property for the development of future hangars, cargo buildings and aerospace industrial facilities here at CAE,” said Murray.

Lastly, CAE is continuing the development of solar fields on the campus to provide a Microgrid for the terminal.

“As part of the airports ongoing ECOProject initiatives, the proposed phase of work would be sited upon an additional covered parking deck on the garage and has the potential to provide 30-50% of the terminal’s electrical demand,” said Murray. “This and future phases of work will provide a sustainable energy source for airport operations and EV charging at the airport.”

These projects would not be possible without our partners at the FAA, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and South Carolina Division of Aeronautics.

For more information on the Columbia Metropolitan Airport, to review the 2023 CAE Annual Report or to stay updated on these and many other projects, please visit FlyCAE.com.

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