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New Terminal Project is a Game-Changer for the Airport and Region

Airport Terminal Project

October 19, 2023

Momentum is strong at the Des Moines International Airport.

More people are utilizing the airport than ever before. Passenger traffic is up nearly 11% over 2022 through the first eight months of the year, and is now above pre-pandemic levels. Through August, already more than 2 million people have flown through Des Moines International Airport in 2023. Passenger activity is expected to continue to grow.

Terminal Project Groundbreaking

On Oct. 4, the airport celebrated a transformational moment for its future by breaking ground on the new terminal project. Advancing this project has been a Strategic Priority for the Greater Des Moines Partnership and its Investors — made up of leading businesses, nonprofit organizations and municipalities — for several years. In a recent survey, our Investors identified this as the most-needed game-changing project in the region. The support for this project is also evident through funding provided by the State of Iowa, Prairie Meadows, Polk County, and 19 cities and counties throughout the region.

The new terminal is a key initiative for economic development and talent attraction for the Greater Des Moines (DSM) region. The project will enhance our economic development and talent attraction efforts, making Greater Des Moines (DSM) even more attractive for businesses expansion and relocation projects as well as current and prospective residents.

Visitors who fly into our airport are potential future residents, and the airport is their first impression of the community. Both prospective and current residents expect an airport that is reflective of our best-in-class region and provides a smooth, memorable experience while traveling. The new terminal will improve ticketing, security, baggage operations, streamline passenger screening, and expand passenger boarding capacity by 50% with the addition of six additional gates for a total of 18 gates as of fall 2026. This project is expected to add $752 million to Iowa’s economy.

The project can take another big step forward as Polk County residents vote on a bond referendum on Nov. 7. This referendum would save the airport approximately $70 million in debt service over the life of the loan. It will come at minimal risk to residents as the loan will be paid back with airport revenues. This is a smart financial decision for the airport and residents. The Partnership’s Board of Directors has voted to support the bond referendum to advance the project, and I encourage you to vote yes on Nov. 7.

We look forward to seeing this project continue to advance and transform Des Moines International Airport and the DSM region.

The Greater Des Moines Partnership Board is made up of Greater Des Moines (DSM) leaders and industry experts. The Board is united in driving economic growth with one voice, one mission and as one region.

Mike McCoy

Mike McCoy is the CEO of NCMIC and serves as the 2023 Greater Des Moines Partnership Board Chair.