Summer start for new Buchanan Field terminal in Concord

Summer start for new Buchanan Field terminal in Concord

Summer start for new Buchanan Field terminal in Concord
The new terminal at Buchanan Field in Concord will be three times the size of the present building.

CONCORD, CA — The planned $11.7 million, 20,000 sq. ft. airport terminal at Buchanan Field Airport received its own shot in the arm as the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors committed $5.7 million from the sale of revenue bonds in late February.

The Federal Aviation Administration will provide the remaining $6 million for the project to replace a 30-year-old temporary facility.
Barring unforeseen developments, construction would begin this July or August – with estimated completion by the end of 2022.

Two double-wides pushed together currently house the operations. The proposed single-story terminal is three times the size of the present facility and will be erected on the existing terminal’s footprint.

“It’s a slight upgrade from what’s there now,” said Keith Freitas, director of airports.

Pandemic recovery

Moving ahead with this project brings to fruition the long-envisioned Master Terminal Plan at the airport. It’s also viewed as a sign of the facility’s readiness to rebound from the economic setbacks suffered because of the pandemic over the past 12 months.

Along with accommodating the administrative offices, fire rescue and emergency response facilities and terminal space for JSX (JetSuiteX), the new facility will be plum for attracting another provider of air service from the Concord airport.

JSX is currently Buchanan’s lone commercial operator, providing charter service to Burbank and John Wayne Airport in Southern California. Freitas acknowledged that JSX saw a 16 percent decline in business during the past year. But, he said, the future is bright as its plans to expand to new markets like Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Diego, Portland and Seattle.

Similar slowdowns hit business and corporate aircraft traffic at Buchanan from March to June, but Freitas noted this area of the airport has rebounded to pre-pandemic levels.

“It’s been pretty steady and pretty consistent,” he said.

Diverse operations

Summer start for new Buchanan Field terminal in ConcordCompared to airports solely dependent on commercial traffic, Buchanan has diverse operations and a variety of revenue streams that have enabled it to fare better than larger operations.

Along with the business and corporate traffic, Buchanan offers opportunities for the smaller aviation community, flight training, and testing locations for emerging aeronautical and aviation-related technologies.

Off-site, the Crown Plaza Hotel and Sam’s Club as well as the adjacent golf facilities and car dealerships that lease land from the airport contribute unique ground revenue to its coffers.

“Owning adjacent land provides us a revenue source that has helped us to weather the pandemic storm,” said Freitas. “That is why we are doing better than the bigger airports.”