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Palmer airport in Unity to add 250 parking spaces

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 8:51 p.m.

To accommodate the increase in passengers using the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, the Westmoreland County Airport Authority is planning to increase the number of parking spaces at the Unity facility.

To serve the anticipated increase in passengers, the authority is proceeding with plans for construction of 250 additional parking spaces, which will cost an estimated $1 million, said Scott Kunselman, the authority's engineer.

The new parking lot will be created at the end of the airport's old runway and adjacent to the terminal parking lot the authority built in 2012. The authority will add about 40 spaces to the lot built in 2012, and the new lot will contain 210 spaces.

The engineer hopes to open bids for the project before the authority's March 12 meeting and award the contract at that time. Construction could begin in April, Kunselman said.

The Federal Aviation Administration will cover 90 percent of the project's cost, with 5 percent coming from the state Bureau of Aviation and the remainder paid by the authority, said Gabe Monzo, airport authority executive director.

The airport served approximately 146,656 passengers in 2012 — more than double the 64,013 passenger served in 2011, according to airport authority statistics.

In January, 12,427 passengers used the airport — almost triple the 4,182 passengers that used it in January 2012.

Donald Rossi, airport authority chairman, said he expects passenger numbers to increase in February because Spirit Airlines, the commercial carrier serving Arnold Palmer Regional Airport, resumed service to Myrtle Beach, S.C., on Feb. 14.

The service to Myrtle Beach will start with three flights weekly, then resume daily service on April 24, three weeks earlier than last year.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or