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Terminal opens brighter gateway

Editorial

At long last, the new terminal at Southwest Regional Airport is in use.

The final flight out of the McAfee Terminal left Tuesday night, and the first passengers to fly into the $10 million facility arrived Wednesday morning.

The difference between the two facilities is like night and day. The old facility had become dark and drab, not the sort of first impression that a community wants to make on a visitor. With plenty of glass and a brighter overall view, the new facility is more inviting. Anything that makes a better impression on a first-time visitor to Albany and Southwest Georgia is beneficial.

By all accounts, the switch to the new terminal went smoothly. Screeners, airport employees and vendors at the airport didn’t miss a beat in providing service to their customers despite the huge undertaking of moving operations overnight.

“This is so inviting, especially when you consider how depressing the old terminal building was,” Thersa Caverly, of Ferndale, Mich., told an Albany Herald reporter Wednesday morning. “It (the McAfee Terminal) had issues; it was so dark and industrial-looking.

“This really changes the first impression people will get when they fly into Albany. It reminds me of the changes made at the Orlando airport several years ago.”

Indeed, congratulations go out to Airport Director Yvette Aehle, her crew, the Transportation Security Administration officials and vendors for the fluid transition. Whenever a new system or facility is used, there are countless points at which problems can occur. Keeping those to a minimum allowed passengers to have a good first experience in the facility.

It’s a welcome change and an important step in creating a more positive image of Albany.