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FAA to reclassify Boise Airport as a medium hub after becoming 61st busiest airport in the nation

The passenger traffic at BOI grew 49% in 5 years, much higher than the national average.

BOISE, Idaho — The Boise Airport isn't the little, easy-going airport it used to be. Most notably, travelers can no longer show up only an hour before a flight. Now, the small airport's growth has caught the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration, which is set to reclassify the Boise Airport as a medium hub this fall.

In 2020, even during the coronavirus pandemic, the Boise Airport was the 61st busiest airport in the nation with 992,342 enplanements, according to Boise Airport spokesperson Sean Briggs.

In an announcement, Briggs explained that the Boise Airport's passenger traffic grew by 49% between 2014 and 2019, much higher than the national average.

The designation of a medium hub will mean the Boise Airport may lose some federal funding for improvements and will have new federal regulations for passenger service, airline competition plans and reporting requirements, according to Briggs.

"The Boise Airport has been anticipating this reclassification, as we have been on the borderline between small and medium hub for quite some time," Boise Airport Director Rebecca Hupp said in a statement. "The strong rebound in our passenger traffic throughout the pandemic helped push the airport over the threshold."

The airport is currently adding a Service Animal Relief Area and a Nursing Room, which will both be found near the security checkpoint and will be fully constructed and open in August 2021. Both additions are required for medium hubs.

"As the airport continues to grow and sees more and more passengers, the airport itself will remain an enterprise fund of the City of Boise and no local taxpayer dollars will be used to operate the airport," Briggs said. "With more passengers traveling, funds such as passenger facility charges are associated with every ticket sold and the ancillary spending in restaurants and shops would offset the funds that the airport receives from the government."

The FAA designates airports based on how much of the overall national air travel an airport handles and medium hubs handle between .25 and 1% of the country's commercial flights each year.


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