The Lincoln Airport has hired a Minneapolis-based architectural firm to help it try to come up with a plan to modernize its passenger terminal and move to a single security checkpoint.
The Airport Authority on Thursday approved a $105,000 contract with Alliiance, which has worked on projects at nearly 100 airports of all sizes, mostly in the U.S.
In October, the board had approved $75,000 to hire a firm to evaluate renovation possibilities for the 45-year-old terminal, but Executive Director David Haring said it became clear after the airport sent out requests for proposals that $75,000 wasn't enough.
Alliiance will be tasked with doing an analysis of the airport and coming up with preliminary designs for dealing with the security checkpoint issue as well as additional issues that may need upgrading should the airport land service from a third airline, such as baggage screening, configuration of jetways and airplane parking.
Currently, each of the two checkpoints can process about 120 passengers per hour based on Transportation Safety Administration staffing levels.
That can lead to long lines and long wait times in the early morning, when four flights depart between 6 and 7 a.m.
The airport has a $750,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and is hoping to entice American Airlines to start service between Lincoln and Dallas.
An additional daily flight, especially if it departs in the morning, would likely intensify the security checkpoint problems.
Haring said the airport is looking for a cost-effective solution that also can be implemented in a reasonable amount of time.
He said the company is not working under a strict deadline, but a key factor in timing will be, "when we think air service might show up."
That could be as early as late summer or in a year or two, Haring said.