Columbia Regional Airport (COU) is celebrating the recent opening of its new $23 million terminal.
Columbia City Council gave support for a new terminal in December 2018. Work on the project began in May 2020 and was completed in October 2022.
The first flight to the new terminal arrived the night of Tuesday, Oct. 25, and the first flight out of the new terminal departed the next morning.
The new facility, which is now fully operational, will improve air travel for residents and visitors in mid-Missouri and serve as a major economic driver for the region.
Not only is the new 52,000-square-foot terminal more than three times the size of its predecessor, it also features four gates with three passenger boarding bridges, more comfortable seating, increased charging outlets, and workstations for business travelers.
New amenities also include a restaurant and bar (opening soon), a mother’s room, a sensory room and an interior Service Animal Relief Area (SARA).
“Columbia Regional Airport is the gateway to central Missouri,” said Amy Schneider, director of the Columbia Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We now have a terminal that better reflects our region and is more welcoming to those visiting our area, creating that critical first impression.”
American Airlines currently offers three daily flights to and from Dallas-Fort Worth and two daily flights to and from Chicago and is planning to start twice-daily service to and from Charlotte once passenger demand increases from the pandemic.
Air service at COU impacts a rapidly expanding catchment area with a population of nearly 520,000. COU’s close proximity makes it the best option for air travelers in mid-Missouri and best meets the region’s economic needs.
“COU will play a key role in securing our region’s economic future,” said Stacey Button, director of economic development for the City of Columbia. “The new airport terminal will help existing businesses grow as well as drive the development of new economic opportunities in Columbia and throughout mid-Missouri.”
The airport has also made improvements to its runways and parking lot. In November 2017, the airport reconstructed and lengthened the crosswind runway to 5,500 feet. In December 2021, the airport completed an extension on its primary runway. This extension to 7,400 feet allows for larger aircraft and increased safety areas, which helps landing and taking off during inclement weather. Also, 93 additional parking spaces are being added to the new parking lot just south of the new terminal for passenger convenience.