Atlantic City International Airport just got a major upgrade and it is now ready to take on a whole new group of passengers.
Two years of work are now complete and the airport is really turning heads.
"It's a big day for us and it's been a long time coming. We've worked on this project for about 2 years and it's a beautiful terminal," SJTA Exec. Director Sam Donelson said.
Twenty-five million dollars, the terminal is now brighter, has more gate space, and a better baggage claim. However, most importantly there is now a U.S. Customs and Border Protection area, making the airport one step closer to offering regularly scheduled international flights.
"The US Department of Commerce anticipates that international trips to the United states of America will grow by 23% by the year 2016. Now we have something we can market ourselves to, those international travelers," Donelson added.
During the grand opening, passengers were quick to give their praise.
"They said years and years ago they were going to make this the place where everyone wants to come and that was back in the 80's and now finally I come out here and when I walked in today and the walls were down I was like are you kidding me. Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. They did well," limo driver and former employee Henry Robinson said.
The airport is now also host to new security portals, they are the newest feature at the airport and they're designed to keep people and prohibited items from going from the non-secure area into the secure-area. They are also saving the airport more than $300,000 a year."
"At most airports this function is handled by a human being so we don't have to pay a TSA agent or one of our operations agents to sit here on a 24/7 basis," Donelson said.
In addition to being able to better utilize current employees, the airport will actually be able to add about 70 new full-time jobs once fully operational.
The new expansion adds 75,000 sq. ft. of space, and will help continue to support ACY's year over year passenger growth. Passenger traffic has increased 3.5% this year alone.
According to officials, ACY offers the lowest round-trip airfare out of the top 100 airports in the country.