Project Highlights

Project Highlights

Gerald R. Ford International Airport is poised to support significant passenger growth and overall economic health of our region. Travelers will enjoy a more comfortable, convenient, and rewarding experience. Local residents will benefit from a world-class international airport close to home, and the entire region will be lifted up by the positive economic impact.


“Your travel experience will start when you arrive at Ford International Airport, which wants to be part of your journey – not simply a building.”

Jorge Barrero, HKS


Once completed in 2024, traveling through the Airport will be even more seamless for passengers and airlines, and the airport will be situated to accept many more daily flights and new routes for thousands of additional passengers. Concourse A is expected to create more than 125 construction jobs and over 300 permanent positions.

This work will position the Airport to resume our anticipated industry-leading 16% annual growth trajectory for the next 20 years – and ensure we can deliver a world-class experience as West Michigan’s gateway to the world.

Gates A1-23 Gates A1-7

Additional gates:

The addition to Concourse A will add eight new gates, for a total of 22 gates at the airport, and more options for amenities.


Expansion of the terminal apron to support aircraft movements is complete thanks to more than $14.4 million in support. The state-of-the-art concourse was supported with $14.3 million in federal and state commitments from the FAA and MDOT.*

*Federal funds to date: Apron Expansion = $14,000,000; Design (AIP grant) = $4,414,431; PBB (BIL funding) = $8,687,870; Congressionally Directed Spending = $1,294,000. State funds to date:Apron Expansion = $388,889; Design (AIP grant) = $0 PBB (BIL funding) = $0

More space:

Over 155k square foot addition

The current 66-foot-wide Concourse A will be widened to up to 120 feet and lengthened by 510 feet for a total of more than 900 feet. Over 155,000 square foot addition, with over 90,000 square feet of new space for public use.

Capital Investment:

$407,600,000 total. $110,000,000 est. Concourse A investment

*Estimated total Elevate capital expansion improvements.

Benefits to travelers:

From the increased number of food and beverage options, greater variety of seating options offered by West Michigan manufacturers, the addition of an executive lounge on an elevated level overlooking Concourse A and so much more, these new features will provide our modern passengers with an enhanced travel experience. The entire Concourse A will have hold rooms sized for today’s larger aircraft traveling to West Michigan, providing a modern experience for all travelers while relieving concourse congestion.

Executive Lounge

Lead design and construction contractors:


See for yourself:


The relocation of this federally owned and operated facility will benefit the entire greater West Michigan Community.

Our air traffic control tower. 60 years old. 2nd oldest in operation at a top 100 airport.

Current limitations:

The current ATCT is 60 years old, making it the oldest operational tower at a Top 75 airport. The current location of the ATCT inhibits our growth and expansion, making it impossible to build taller parking garages, and limiting terminal and tenant hangar developments due to line-of-sight constraints.

By relocating the ATCT, we can bring it up to current security and building best practices, accommodate forecasted passenger demand, and increase airport revenue with additional aeronautical development sites.

FAA engagement:

In 2019, an FAA execution team visited the Airport and confirmed preferred ATCT sighting recommendations in accordance with the FAA ATCT Sighting Order.

A $551,795 reimbursable agreement between the FAA and the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Authority (GFIAA) has been executed with payment to the FAA, committing GFIAA funding to complete sighting of a new ATCT.

FAA and GRR staff have completed the first ever remote AFTIL 1 and 2 tower siting effort following federal tower siting standards.  The new site has been selected.

Estimated construction timeframe:

3 Years

Elevate capital expansion improvements:

$407,600,000 total. $70,000,000 est. cost for tower project

*Estimated total Elevate capital expansion improvements.

Anticipated growth and impact

Short 1,100 close-in covered parking spaces. $1.46 million lost per year in parking. $5.75 million lost to date.

The 2023 draft federal THUD (Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development) budget includes funding for the design of a new ATCT thanks to the work and continued support of Senator Peters and Senator Stabenow with the support of Representative Meijer and Representative Moolenaar.

Current Location of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT)

A new Federal Inspection Station (FIS) will accommodate direct international passengers and cargo.

Keeping revenue in West Michigan:

Currently, the Ford International Airport cannot serve international passengers on a non-stop basis due to lack of FIS and inability to process arriving international passengers. Without an FIS, we are losing 40% of our international passengers to competitor airports, resulting in $15 million annual loss in regional revenue that could be generated by these incoming passengers.

40% of international passengers lost to competitor airports. $15 million annual loss in revenue.

Estimated timeframe to establish:

24 months

A two-phase approach:

Well worth the cost:

$136,000,000 annual potential regional economic output by international travelers. $27,000,000 cost to establish new FIS.

The cost to establish the FIS would be more than made up for in one year of processing international travelers.

Estimated regional demand (annual):

243,500 international passengers

With the addition of an FIS, we would be able to serve an additional 45,000 international passengers annually by focusing on nonstop flights to destinations in Latin America and the Caribbean initially. 


A modern Checked Baggage Inspection system (CBIS)
to streamline TSA operations.

Upcoming changes to the terminal:

To support TSA’s growth and airline service demands in West Michigan, the terminal will be expanded to the west with a full CBIS on the lower level and additional administrative space on the 2nd floor above the new ticket counter spaces. Terminal expansion will include relocation of ticket counters (from the east to the west end of the terminal), new bag makeup space for airline operations, and baggage claim expansion.

An in-line system:

Inline Checked Baggage Inspection System

Since checked baggage screening equipment was installed, loading and unloading of baggage to TSA provided equipment has been manual. In July 2020, TSA headquarters approached GFIAA staff and recommended pursuit of TSA Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) funding for the design and construction of an in-line checked baggage inspection system. Pre-design was funded in 2021 with design funded in 2022 for final bid documents.

Project partners:

Estimated start of construction:

The effect on travelers:

The CBIS project will streamline the post-ticket counter journey for baggage, decrease processing time, and increase capacity. The project will also consolidate all ticket counters, which are split by baggage claim today, and clear the way for baggage claim expansion to support continued growth.

Supporting growth for 20+ years. Reduced processing time. Increased capacity.

Michigan’s first Consolidated Rental Car Facility (CONRAC).

Today rental car pick-up and return takes place on the first floor of the airport parking garage. Each car visits a remote facility for cleaning and preparations before the next rental. A CONRAC will allow for space for both functions, ready/return, and quick turnaround, to happen in the East Lot. More than 2,000 construction jobs will be created, cumulatively, for the entirety of the project.

New 3-story quick turnaround facility dedicated to rental car operations.

The introduction of a 3-story Quick Turn-Around facility (QTA) dedicated to rental car operations will reduce vehicle miles traveled by about three miles per vehicle, or 600,000 miles per year, saving approximately $84,000 in fuel cost. Additionally, up to 90% of water used for the CONRAC car wash will be recycled.

The CONRAC project will include a 5-story ready/return parking garage with an integrated customer service building. This custom-built facility will enhance the rental car experience for both guests and employees and provide space for car rental companies to continue growing at the airport. 90% of car rental vehicle operations being removed from the airport roadway system, reducing 500,000 lbs of carbon per year (that’s over 5,000 trees.)