Cantwell Touts Economic Benefits of Pullman Airport’s New Terminal Building

Terminal “will be an economic engine for the Palouse,” says Cantwell; Federal funding covered 84% of project cost, which will allow airport to eventually accommodate five daily flights to Seattle

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Saturday, Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport will hold a ribbon-cutting for its new terminal building. U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), chair of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, helped secure $75.1 million in federal funding for the project.

“The new terminal is more than just a building, it will be an economic engine for the Palouse,” said Sen. Cantwell. “By 2038, the expanded airport is projected to support more than 700 jobs and generate more than $40 million every year for the regional economy. And this new terminal ultimately means more flights – completion of this project will allow the airport to accommodate five flights per day to Seattle, up from three,” Sen. Cantwell said.

Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport broke ground on the terminal building in August 2022. The airport's current terminal is 8,785 sq. ft., consisting of one ground boarding gate. The new terminal building is nearly five times bigger at 47,500 sq. ft., and has three gates. 

Of the $89.1 million total project cost, $75.1 million – 84% – came from federal funding. 

The project benefited from the Cantwell-authored expanded national investment in airports under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL). Pullman-Moscow Airport's new terminal project won two grants totaling $18.1 from the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Airport Terminal Program (ATP), a new BIL program.

The total federal funding breakdown for the new terminal is as follows:

  • FAA Discretionary: $43.2 million
  • BIL Airport Terminal Program: $18.1 million
  • CARES Act: $10.4 million
  • FAA Entitlement: $2 million
  • BIL Airport Improvement Grants: $1.4 million
  • TOTAL: $75.1 million

Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport had 75,027 enplanements in 2022, a record high. From 2021 to 2022, enplanements at Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport grew 38%, and from 2009 to 2022 grew 149%. The airport expects enplanements to more than double to 155,000 by 2034.

The new terminal allows for more flights. The airport currently has a maximum of three flights to and from Seattle each day. On average, these flights are 81% full. Thanks to added capacity at the new terminal, the airport could handle five flights per day to Seattle.

The passenger experience will improve, too, as two of the gates have boarding bridges for above-ground boarding.  

The new terminal is expected to open next spring. Once the project is complete, the construction phase of the terminal building will have created between 600-700 building trades jobs. By 2038, the project is forecasted to support over 740 long-term indirect jobs, generating over $40 million of gross regional product every year. 

Sen. Cantwell helped secure billions of dollars in funding for air travel infrastructure nationwide as part of the BIL. With her support, the infrastructure package provided a total of $25 billion for airport improvements, including $5 billion for the ATP, $5 billion for FAA air traffic control facilities, and $15 billion in Airport Infrastructure Grants.