ARTICLE

Eastern Iowa Airport debuts roomier security screening space, new exit lane technology

Passengers leaving the secure terminal area walk through a new double door system that provides added security at The Eastern Iowa Airport in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Passengers leaving the secure terminal area walk through a new double door system that provides added security at The Eastern Iowa Airport in southwest Cedar Rapids, Iowa on Monday, Sept. 16, 2019. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
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CEDAR RAPIDS — Several recent revamps at The Eastern Iowa Airport are designed to make transition between the terminal and gates more seamless for travelers.

The airport last week reopened its permanent security screening area, which had been closed and rebuilt to be longer and wider than its previous incarnation.

Customers were required to undergo screening in a temporary location, in the old Sam Adams Pub area, during the reconstruction.

“People have more room to divest of personal items to go through screening and more room to recombobulate after you get done,” airport Director Marty Lenss said Monday afternoon.

And the airport’s screening-lane count could be on track to double in size down the road. Officials plan to introduce a third lane toward the end of the year, with a walled-off space available for the addition of a fourth lane, should passenger growth create a need.

The total revamped screening area “will be large enough to not only accommodate today’s growth but room to grow for the next 20 years,” Lenss said.

The airport saw 64,941 enplaned passengers in July 2019 — a 20.5-percent increase from July 2018 — and 385,463 passengers boarding planes to date in 2019, or a 10.7 percent increase over the same time frame in 2018, according to its most recent available statistics.

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Also a key feature of the new screening area are three pairs of automated glass exit lane doors, with an overhead voice advising passengers “don’t stop, move forward” as they proceed to the baggage claim area.

To reach baggage claim previously, passengers had to traverse a small hallway that often spilled over into the airport’s former B gate area, Lenss said.

“You’d have to wind your way through people just to get out,” he noted, adding that the new technology lends itself to a “much sleeker and much more passenger friendly” process.

Officials plan to station a Transportation Security Administration officer at the doors for two weeks to answer any questions from passengers about the new technology and ensure it is working properly.

The renovations fall under the third of four phases in the airport’s ongoing terminal modernization project. The $30.8 million Phase 3 involves a 54,000-square-foot expansion to the terminal, with two new jet bridges, expanded concessions and a new outdoor patio, all slated for completion by Jan. 1.

Comments: (319) 398-8366; thomas.friestad@thegazette.com

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