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PIA Aims for Commercial International Flights by 2015

PEORIA - The General Wayne Downing Peoria Airport is looking to add flights overseas.
PEORIA - The General Wayne Downing Peoria Airport is looking to add flights overseas.
But for the first time, international flights will open to all passengers.
Currently, the only international business travel flies out of Peoria. But plans are taking off to open the air for the average flier.
"It's been on our wish list to get customers at Peoria for a long time," said airport director Gene Olson.  
The airport plans to build a new international arrivals building that would handle commercial travel outside of the U.S. Olson says blueprints for the $9 million facility are awaiting approval.
“There will be a walkway that will go over to the new facility. And then on the second level, it will be sized so we can handle up to 757 type aircraft," said Olson.  
More than eight percent of the airport’s travel is international. The only other airport in the state with a higher percentage in the state is Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Olson says adding commercial international flights will make this smaller airport more competitive.
"We think our best shot is international flights to markets in Mexico and the Caribbean. So it'll be nice warm places to good things to think about this time of year."
The terminal - which would sit between current wing with baggage claim and the old terminal - will also serve as a customs and border protection office.
If approved, Olson predicts the terminal could open in the summer of 2015.
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