FAQ

How do I bid for project work?

Northern Colorado Regional Airport invites interested parties to register with its e-procurement portal, BidNet by clicking the button below.

BidNet

Why does the Airport need to replace the current terminal?

Since the existing terminal was built in 1989, the population of Northern Colorado has approximately doubled and population growth in the region is expected to outpace the national average for the next several decades. Thousands of people from Northern Colorado drive to and from Denver International Airport every day, leading to highway congestion, headaches, and lost productivity.

The existing terminal was designed for 19 passenger regional aircraft that flew into the Denver Stapleton Airport. Airline industry trends continue to see aircraft size increase as more seats and less personnel and more fuel-efficient aircraft factor into maximizing profitability. Commercial aircraft that currently utilize FNL carry upwards of 200 people. To accommodate the larger aircraft temporary modular buildings were added to the existing terminal to provide additional capacity, but they were never intended to be a permanent solution. A larger, modern, efficient terminal is long overdue and will help FNL realize its potential as a regional intermodal transportation hub.

Why was a new terminal selected as the project to use the CARES Act funds on?

Airside infrastructure (runways, taxiways, and aprons) projects typically receive high priority for Federal and State grants. Throughout the years, FNL has been able to obtain funding to improve and maintain these assets and aviation safety. Funding for landside infrastructure (terminals, roads, and parking lots) projects is much more difficult to obtain. As a result, the landside infrastructure at FNL, including the terminal building, has not kept pace with the airside infrastructure. Airport Improvement Program (AIP) grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which are the primary source of funding for airports like FNL, carry restrictions and require cost-sharing for terminal projects. These funds cannot be used for revenue-generating areas of a terminal such as restaurants, concessions, retail, car rental, and parking lots. There are much fewer restrictions associated with the CARES Act funding and no cost sharing is required.

Cities and counties that own and operate small airports usually end up shouldering a large share of the financial burden for new terminal projects. The CARES Act grant creates a once in a lifetime opportunity for FNL to build a new terminal without relying on the Cities and local taxpayers for financial support.

  • Rationale for using CARES Act grant funds for a new terminal: Strong economic impact & job creation potential
  • Allows for greater direct utilization of the Airport by the public
  • Is aligned with Strategic Plan, Master Plan, and policies
  • CARES Act funds can be used for revenue generating areas of the terminal and parking lot, unlike AIP funds
  • Can be accomplished within funding use guidelines including the four-year time constraint
  • Enhances existing and generates new revenue streams, and frees future grant funding availability to be used on other high priority projects,
  • Improves safety, capacity, and functionality lacking in existing facilities
  • Supports other projects and future needs
  • Eliminates the need to issue debt or request financial support from Cities
Who will pay for the new terminal and supporting infrastructure?

The Airport in 2019 achieved a milestone. It became fully financially sustainable after over 50 years of being provided an operational subsidy by the Cities of Fort Collins and Loveland. In April of 2020, Northern Colorado Regional Airport was awarded $16.9 million in grant funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Act included $10 billion to be distributed to public-use airports in the U.S. After thorough analysis, the Planning & Development Subcommittee and the Airport Commission concluded that designing a new terminal was the top priority for utilization of the funds. As the design progresses, Airport decision-makers will monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects on the aviation industry to inform decisions on moving forward with construction. While additional funding sources are being explored, no local tax dollars are expected to go towards the design or construction of the new terminal.

Why did FNL receive $16.9 million from the CARES Act?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act was signed into Law on March 27, 2020. Within the $2 trillion legislation, nearly $10 billion was provided to eligible U.S. airports to prevent, prepare for, and respond to coronavirus impacts. The entirety of this funding is derived from the US Government’s General Fund, and not the Airport & Airway Trust Fund, where aviation fees and taxes are collected and used to fund all aviation needs. The CARES Act funds are available to: Keep airports in reliable, safe operation to serve the aviation industry, the traveling public, and support the economy, keep airport and aviation workers employed, and to keep airport credit ratings stable.

The CARES Act funds were distributed by various formulas for all airports that are part of the national airport system. One of the formulas allocated funds based on each airport’s fiscal year 2018 ratio of unrestricted reserves to its respective debt service. This ratio rewarded highly fiscally responsible airports like FNL and accounted for $16.7 million of the $16.9 million the Airport was awarded

More information about how CARES Act funds were distributed to airports can be found at www.faa.gov/airports/cares_act and breakdown of the details which were provided at the April 2020 Commission Meeting are restated below:

  1. Provides for an increase in the Federal Share of FAA grants from 90% to 100% for FY 2020 AIP
    and FY 2020 Supplemental Discretionary grants- at least $500 million

    1. Our Airport will receive $30,000 in additional federal funding to offset the local grant
      match requirements for the current $300,000 Commercial Apron design.
  2. Providing aid to Commercial Service Airports at least $7.4 billion
    1. 50% of this funding was based on each airport’s percentage of enplanements (this is one
      outbound passenger traveling on a commercial aircraft) for all commercial service
      airport enplanements during calendar year 2018, of which our Airport had 2,538 which
      equates to an estimated $200,000.
    2. 25% of this funding was based on each airport’s percentage of debt service for the
      combined debt service for all commercial service airports for the fiscal year 2018, of
      which our airport had none.
    3. 25% of this funding was based on each airport’s fiscal year 2018 ratio of unrestricted
      reserves to its respective debt service, of which the airport had $2.4 million. This ratio is
      where our Airport received the majority of the funding as the Act not only provided for
      airports that had credit rewarded commercial service airports that highly fiscally
      responsible which equates to an estimated $16.7 million.
  3. Providing aid to Primary Commercial Airports of up to $2 billion.
    1. Allocated to airports with 8,000 or more passengers in 2018, of which this did not apply
      to our Airport.
  4. Provide at least $100 million to general aviation airports.
    1. This is only applicable to airports classified as general aviation in 2018, of which ours
      was classified as Non-Primary Commercial Service.
Why didn’t FNL refuse the CARES grant funds?

Refusing the funds would result in them being redistributed to other Airports likely far away from Northern Colorado. Accepting these grant funds will allow the Airport move forward with a new terminal project that is long overdue, and investing in local businesses that will design and eventually construct the new facilities. Additionally having a successful Airport will only increase the economic benefit FNL creates for our community which is already significant based on CDOT Aeronautics’ 2020 Economic Impact Study.

Will the new terminal lead to an increase in noise?

The commercial airliners that are expected to service the new terminal already operate at FNL. Growth at the airport is a direct impact from growth in the region. The existing terminal is used by college sports teams and casino charter flights, and supported regularly scheduled service. The aircraft that currently operate and will continue to operate at the Airport are much quieter and more fuel efficient than the aircraft that where operated in the recent past.

Is it true that only the FAA, not the City of Fort Collins, Loveland (or any city) and not the Airport Commission (or any airport operator), can unilaterally impose a mandatory curfew?

Yes. In 1990, Congress enacted the Airport Noise and Capacity Act (ANCA), which prohibits all airport operators from imposing new noise rules that restrict access by aircraft. In that law, Congress provided a mechanism for airport operators to seek permission from the FAA to impose new aircraft access restrictions by conducting a “Part 161 Study” that evaluates the costs and benefits of imposing a new rule (such as a curfew) against the impacts that the new rule would have on the National Airspace System. Part 161 studies can take up to ten years and cost millions of dollars. Based on noise contours completed by the FAA in 2003, when louder Stage 2 jets were in regular operation at FNL, all impactful noise was shown to occur only on airport property; therefore, FNL would not be eligible for a part 161 study.

How does the Airport benefit the economy of Northern Colorado?

According to a 2020 economic impact study conducted by the Colorado Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division, the Airport generates approximately $160.87 million annually in business revenues to the region. FNL supports approximately 1,072 jobs, with $51.9 million in annual payroll, and contributes $83.19 million annually in value added (labor compensation, profits, and business taxes).

CDOT Aeronautics’ 2020 Economic Impact Study

Does the Airport generate taxes for the Cities of Fort Collins and Loveland?

Yes. There are various Airport-related taxes that are paid, including property tax on aircraft and tenant leaseholds, and sales taxes from retail, food services, and aviation fuel.

What kind of public input and outreach has been done, and will be done, to assure the community’s input on a new terminal facility?

The public has had, and will continue to have numerous opportunities to share their views about the future of the Airport and the new terminal facility. More than 30 public meeting were held during the 2020 update of the Airport’s Master Plan. The Airport will hold four terminal design charrette workshops and as these meeting take place, presentation materials will be shared along with surveys that will allow you to share thoughts, reactions, and suggestions. As always, public comment about any Airport-related issue is welcome at monthly Airport Commission meetings and City Council meetings.

How can we keep track of what’s going on at the Airport?

The easiest way is to visit the Airport website. The Airport Commission is currently holding monthly meetings virtually through the Zoom platform and posts them for replay on the Airport’s YouTube Channel. The public is also invited to subscribe to the Airport’s email list, and to follow the Airport on social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.

How large will the new terminal be?

As part of the 2020 Master Plan update, and analysis was completed that estimated the space requirements of a new terminal to be around 30,500 square feet. By comparison, the existing terminal is 4,200 square feet, with another 2,500 square feet of temporary modular building space being used for a secure holding area. The space is directly in relation to the aircraft sizes that the Airport currently supports.

 

When will the new terminal open to the public?

Design of the new will take 14-16 months. If the Airport Commission decides to move forward with construction, the new facility will likely open in 2024.

Which airlines will use the new terminal and where will they go?

Avelo Airlines began service to Burbank, CA October 6, 2021 and will start non-stop service to Las Vegas, NV on December 15, 2021. These are two of the highest demand markets for our area. Market demand for airline travel in Northern Colorado continues to be substantial and is expected to grow with increases in population and economic health. A new terminal facility could make FNL more attractive to airlines and transportation providers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a disruption in the airline industry, but has also created some interesting opportunities. Many industry experts expect airline activity to return to pre-pandemic levels by late 2023, around the same time the new terminal is expected to be completed. Airlines will choose what destinations they will serve based on market demand and profitability.

What will happen to the existing terminal?

The existing terminal will continue to support air carrier operations at FNL until the new terminal is completed, then will likely be repurposed to support the new facility.