Keeping pace with demand has required a series of improvements to the airport. An expansion in 1955 tripled the square footage of the terminal and increased the number of gates to 11. A new terminal with 25 gates opened in 1997, and in 2004 Air Force One became the first Boeing 747 to land at the airport.
As part of its Airport Improvement Program, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority proceeded in May 2004 to extend and rehabilitate Runway 5-23, the airport’s main runway.
In May 2004, Mott MacDonald was retained to provide all construction monitoring services for the project, including project management, full-time inspection, cost control, and schedule review.
Runway 5-23 and Taxiway “A” were extended 1,000 feet and rehabilitated for their full length of 9,000 feet (2.7 kilometers). All in-pavement lighting and approach lighting systems were replaced, two tunnels were rehabilitated, navigational aids and site drainage were improved, perimeter roadways were constructed, and security issues were addressed.
About 130,000 tons of asphalt pavement were installed in the course of the project. More than 8,600 cubic yards (6,575 cubic meters) of rock were removed to construct a drainage channel, and more than 600,000 cubic yards (458,000 cubic meters) of embankment were constructed for the runway and taxiway extensions.
Mott MacDonald provided technical assistance to evaluate changes during construction related to runway lighting systems, airfield signage, and various civil/site issues.
Work on this major expansion project was completed in 2007, with minimal disruption of airport operations. Lighting, navigational, and security updates have improved safety for airline staff and passengers.
Buffalo Niagara International Airport is now the busiest airport in upstate New York, with about 110 flights per day providing nonstop service to 23 airports.