Project Highlights

Project Highlights

Gerald R. Ford International Airport is poised to support significant passenger growth and overall economic health of our region. Guests will enjoy a more comfortable, convenient, and enhanced experience through accessible facilities and innovative programs. West Michigan will benefit from a world-class international airport close to home, and the entire community will be lifted up by the positive economic impact.


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.

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 on the east side of the airfield.

GRR staff is working closely with the FAA design team, with the final design to be completed in 2024. Federal funding sources will support the construction of the new ATCT at GRR.

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.

Our Vision:


“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



Completed in 2024, traveling through the Airport is even more seamless for passengers and airlines, and the airport is situated to accept more daily flights and new routes for thousands of additional passengers.

Gates A1-23 Gates A1-7

Additional gates:

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

External concourse with new gates.

More space:

Over 155k square foot addition

The previous 66-foot-wide Concourse A was widened to 120 feet and lengthened by 510 feet for a total of more than 900 feet. Over 155,000 square feet was added, 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.

New Concessions and Amenities

Aletitude restaurant

Aletitude is a full-service restaurant features a beer garden with locally crafted brews and breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. 

Blue Bridge Market

Blue Bridge Market offers West Michigan favorites from Madcap Coffee to Nantucket Bakery. Enjoy a cup of joe, a croissant, or a self-serve meal here before your flight. 


Enjoy the famous Freddy’s steakburger, frozen custard, breakfast options, and more at Freddy’s. 

Thornapple Essentials

Visit Thornapple Essentials for those last-minute items that might have been left at home. This retail store offers snacks, toiletries, clothes, and more. 

Services for Guests with Disabilities

Companion Care Restroom

A companion care restroom with an adult changing table is offered in Concourse A near gate A8.

Post-Security Animal Relief Restroom

The post-security animal relief area is located at the beginning of Concourse A near Gate A4.

Executive Lounge:

The addition of an executive lounge on an elevated level overlooking Concourse A will be completed in Spring 2025. Designed with the modern traveler in mind, this premium space will feature a bar, gourmet refreshments, Wi-Fi, and more. The lounge will be a part of multiple credit card loyalty programs and offer day passes.

Executive Lounge

Lead design and construction contractors:


See for yourself:


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.)

Project partners:

Our vision:

The 2019, airport master plan update included a recommendation for additional near-term close-in covered parking via a covered 6-story parking garage in the North Lot (>5,500 spaces). In 2019, airport parking demand exceeded the capacity of close-in, covered parking spaces by 1,100 spaces – realizing the immediate need for a public parking garage in the North Lot. Due to existing line-of-site restrictions from the Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT), this recommended/ideal facility cannot be constructed. In December 2019, following a detailed parking analysis (which considered ATCT restrictions), GFIAA decided to proceed with the design and construction of a CONRAC facility in the East Lot. Construction of the CONRAC will result in the ability to vacate rental car facilities in the existing parking garage and convert that space into premium long-term public parking.

Construction timeline:


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. 


North Lot:

To meet airport parking demands for the next 10 years, the North Garage needs to be constructed as soon as the ATCT is relocated.  Schematic design of this long-term facility to support West Michigan’s growth is complete, take a look at our vision!

Rendering of North Lot

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

Upcoming changes to the terminal: