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The upgrades keep coming for the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport

Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport

Right now, the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport is in the final stages of installing a new jet bridge.

The $3 million project will be able to accommodate larger jets and have a baggage lift, HVAC, and intercom.

“It's kind of a one-size-fits-all jet bridge, if you will. It's really consistent with what you would see at an Atlanta Hartsfield or Chicago O’Hare. It's very versatile. I mean, it can go up and down and all around and accommodate just about anything with wings and any future aircraft we may be accommodating,” said Airport Director Matthew Leitner.

The funding for the jet bridge comes from the FAA’s Airport and Airway Trust Fund which in turn comes from user fees like the overflight fee international airlines have to pay.

It’s the latest in a long string of upgrades to the Rhinelander-Oneida County Airport.

In the last five or so years, the airport has seen an influx of tens of millions of dollars.

It’s led to changes like an automated parking revenue control system and a new security area.

Leitner says it’s a sign of the potential of Rhinelander.

“Our former chairman Robert Heck used to say cities don't build airports, airports build cities. I think strategically speaking, the airport commission and myself, and our staff, we understand that Rhinelander has a lot of potential. It's a burgeoning community, said Leitner. “This airport is going to continue to serve that and fuel that. I think we want to be positioned strategically to accommodate that and to be proactive, rather than reactive.”

More changes are on the way.

The airport is getting more than $7 million through the FAA’s Airport Improvement Program.

It will be used to upgrade the taxiway and runway lighting.

“A lot of that stuff dates back to the Carter administration when this terminal was built back in 1978 and ‘79. Our primary runway was installed or constructed back in 1976 and ‘77. That's going to be rehabilitated, and we're very grateful for that funding. It's desperately needed,” said Leitner.

That construction will take place next summer.


Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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