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Eugene Airport planning for next 20 years of growth: 'The numbers are so solid'

A page from a presentation on the Eugene Airport master plan (City of Eugene)

EUGENE, Ore. - Airfield development and safety, landside concepts - preparation for a new master plan for the Eugene Airport has generated enough technical data to fill the control tower.

What's the point of a new master plan?

Airport managers say it boils down to one word: Growth.

"We've had 7 years of record passenger growth," said Cathryn Stephens, the assistant airport manager, "and right now we're tracking about 12 percent over last year. Early in the year, but still 12 percent up."

That's 12 percent beyond the record one million people who went through the gates last year.

The new airport plan looks at adding 5 new parking spots for jets, and more concourse holding rooms.

And despite a big project done 18 months ago, the airport terminal is in the plan.

"Within the next 5 years we'll likely be building out a C gate to accommodate the increased passenger traffic and also airline interest," Stephens said.

The airport management anticipates more direct flights to locations around the West.

And don't forget: Those planes fly both ways, taking you on vacation or business - and bringing visitors to town, too.

"I think the numbers are so solid that we'll probably see more kinds of daily service down the road, which we're excited about," said Any Vobora with Eugene, Coast & Cascades, the local tourism bureau.

Vobora said direct flights are great news for attracting more conventions.

"It just makes it so much easier for them to not write us off, thinking 'Oh, there's no way to get there. No way to get our convention delegates there."

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