The board of the Columbus Regional Airport Authority took another step March 26 toward building a rental-car facility that will move the rental companies out of the terminal and its attached garage at John Glenn Columbus International Airport.
When completed in mid-2021, the move will free 1,400 spaces in the parking garage, which often has been filled on busy weekdays.
The board agreed that the airport authority would issue $110 million in bonds to help fund the $140 million facility. The bonds will be repaid by customer user fees that have been assessed since 2007 -- and will continue -- on cars rented at the airport.
A formal groundbreaking is planned for April 17 at the site west of the terminal in the area of the old cellphone waiting lot near the McDonald's restaurant on airport property.
Moving rental cars to the new building will mean a shuttle ride of a few minutes for passengers arriving by plane and wanting to rent a car. Eventually, the airport authority expects to build a new terminal across from the rental-car building. That project, which has risen in estimated cost to $2 billion, is on hold because no funding plan is in place.
Also at the meeting, airport authority CEO Joe Nardone said the number of passengers served at John Glenn Columbus International Aiport continued to increase in January to a total of 586,025 -- a 7.8 percent increase.
That put the 2019 count 8.7 percent ahead of last year's record-breaking 2018 number. Much of the growth is attributable to budget carrier Spirit Airlines, which launched service in Columbus in February 2018.