New airport terminal begins construction

Airport will house several amenities, capable of future expansion; beginning jet service



The new terminal’s concrete footings were poured Thursday. Tony Bean, executive director of Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, said the terminal should begin servicing the community by December 2023.


WSU expects renewed economic growth, as construction workers began pouring concrete Thursday for Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport’s new terminal.

Tony Bean, executive director of Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, said the project consists of a building approximately 43,000 square feet in size; complete with three gates, a restaurant, bar, small shops and around 450 parking spots with an additional 90 spaces for rental cars.

“From the time they hit the front door of this building,” he said,”until they get on that airplane, that experience is important.”

Both Pullman and Moscow, their universities and counties are contributing to the project along with federal grants and other donors. Bean said the terminal should start servicing the community by December 2023.

The airport plans to re-purpose the current single-gate terminal of approximately 8,000 square feet after the new construction finishes, Bean said. The airport might utilize the old building for cargo, charter flights or sell the land so a buyer can build a private hangar.

Phil Weiler, WSU vice president of marketing communications, said the airport is the region’s connection with the outside world, and by increasing capacity, WSU will likely attract more enrollment and potential faculty members. 

“Air travel is really an important way for people to make their way to Pullman and for people in Pullman to make their way to other parts of the world,” Weiler said. 

Pullman is home to Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, the largest private employer in the area with locations across the globe. He said that bringing their clients in from all over better positions WSU and Pullman on the map in terms of travel destinations. 

While Boise, Idahoand Seattle are the only current destinations, the airport is continually looking at partnerships with different airlines to expand its domain. Weiler said the community needs access to hubs, such as Denver or Salt Lake City, to expand its reach east. 

Alaska Airlines is currently the only airline flying in and out of the Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport. WSU Pullman Chancellor Elizabeth Chilton illustrated the importance of WSU’s relationship with Alaska Airlines on Tuesday during a presentation touting the industry. 

“Alaska Airlines is truly WSU’s lifeline to the world,” Chilton said. “I’ve flown Alaska four times in the last four days.”

Bean said the local airport and airline are in the process of phasing out the twin-prop planes typically flown into Pullman. The Q400 is being replaced with the Embraer 175 jet, which is quieter on the inside, flies higher and has different seating, including first and business class.

The airport recently finished construction on its runway to meet Federal Aviation Administration guidelines which permit larger jets to fly in and out of Pullman. Bean said that the largest jet to ever land in Pullman, a C-17, touched down on Thursday, marking a new chapter in aviation for the region. 

A newly installed instrument landing system will also contribute to fewer cancelations and delays due to poor visibility, Bean said. 

Prior to installation, planes had to line up with Moscow Mountain to make a safe landing; now with the instrument landing system and five- degree pivoted runaway passengers can expect fewer disruptions, he said. 

“It’s a big push for people’s quality of life, everything that’s done, everything we’ve touched,” Bean said. “It’s very, very difficult to move a runway. It’s hard. Building a terminal from scratch is hard to do, but we do it because it’s the best thing for the people.”