Airport sees renovations, new equipment as another record is set

Two new aircraft rescue and firefighting vehicles are being prepped for duty at Palm Springs International Airport. (Photo courtesy Palm Springs Fire Department)

More passengers and more flights are only a few of the noteworthy things happening at Palm Springs International Airport.

City officials this week cut the ribbon on renovations at the airport’s ticket lobby and a new state-of-the-art baggage system, while the fire department welcomed the arrival of two new vehicles at the airport.

The new and updated equipment comes as airport staff reports more record-setting data. Passenger counts for the month of July reached 129,463. That number represents a 32 percent increase over the previous July record set in 2019, when 97,834 total passengers streamed through the airport.

Traveler totals disrupted due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 began rebounding in May of this year and have exceeded pre-pandemic numbers throughout the summer. While still lagging compared to 2019 totals, July 2021 passenger numbers were up 283 percent compared with July 2020.

“This summer has been one of the busiest we’ve ever had at the airport, and we expect this rebound to continue with more available flights and 10 new routes starting this fall,” Palm Springs Mayor Christy Holstege said during a Monday ceremony. “With the completion of the ticket lobby renovations and the installation of a new  baggage system, we are improving the airport user experience and accommodating future demand.”

Members of the Palm Springs City Council and the city’s Airport Commission pose before cutting a ribbon Monday during a celebration for renovations at Palm Springs International Airport. (Photo courtesy City of Palm Springs)

The ticket lobby upgrades and new baggage system are the culmination of a $36 million project that began in February 2020. The project was first identified during the airport’s 2015 master plan update. During the lobby renovation, airline offices were reconfigured to allow passenger circulation areas to nearly double in size. Accessibility for passengers with disabilities was also improved, and additional ticket counters were added to accommodate a growing list of airlines flying in and out of Palm Springs.

The new firefighting equipment, which arrived on Sunday, is expected to replace similar vehicles first put into service in 2003. The aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicles are being outfitted with radios and other needed equipment prior to entering service.

“Hopefully the units will be in service soon to continue protecting our residents and visitors at the Palm Springs International Airport,” a fire department spokesperson said Monday.

One additional project at the airport is currently underway. That project will see the replacement of all passenger boarding bridges at the airport. That work, at a cost of $7 million, began in June and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

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COFFEE WITH A COP: A chance for community members to get to know city police officers returns today at 10 AM. Join officers from the Palm Springs Police Department for a cup of coffee and a chat at Starbuck’s Reserve, 101 S. Palm Canyon Dr. The event lasts until 12:30 PM. Note: The Post inadvertently had this event happening yesterday and regrets the error.

SCHOOL COVID: As of this morning, the Palm Springs Unified School District is reporting 99 cases of COVID-19 among students and staff. Schools in Palm Springs account for 20 of those cases, including 18 cases among students and two among staff. The most cases in any city school were reported at Palm Springs High School, where nine students and no staff members are reportedly infected.


MIZELL EVENTS: Programs at the Mizell Center today include Dick Brodie’s Jam Session, a knitting circle, and an evening informational session on bariatric surgery. The center is located at 480 S. Sunrise Way, and events begin at 8 AM. For a complete list of today’s offerings, click here.

CARD FOR CHIEF: A large thank you card for retired Police Chief Bryan Reyes can be signed outside the office of The Palm Springs Chamber of Commerce between the hours of 9 AM and 5 PM. The office is located at 190 W. Amado Road.

HORA DE CUENTOS: La bibliotecaria Nancy Valdivia lee cuentos, canta canciones y enseña conceptos de aprendizaje temprano (miércoles en español y jueves en inglés) de 10:30 AM a 11:30 AM en el salón de cuentos para jóvenes de la Biblioteca Pública de Palm Springs. Puedes ver los videos en YouTube aquí. La biblioteca está ubicada en 300 S. Sunrise Way.

PARKLET DESIGNS: A workgroup meeting to make recommendations on parklet designs for the city meets virtually today at 2 PM. A complete agenda and instructions for attending the meeting are available here.

STRATEGIC PLANNING: The city’s Sustainability Commission Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Strategic Planning meets today at 4:30 PM via Zoom. Information on participating in the meeting or viewing it online can be found here.

APPEALS BOARD: The city’s Administrative Appeals Board meets today at 5:30 PM. A complete agenda, including instructions for listening in or participating in the meeting via Zoom, can be found here.


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