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Congressman Bruce Westerman visits airport, talks about safety, security and new terminal

by Greg Bischof | August 21, 2020 at 4:59 a.m. | Updated August 21, 2020 at 5:11 a.m.

TEXARKANA. Ark - U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman dropped by the Texarkana Regional Airport Thursday to thank the entire airport staff for their persistence in keeping air operations going during the COVID pandemic.

Westerman, a Republican from Hot Springs, who represents the Arkansas Fourth Congressional District, visited the airport's passenger terminal to thank the American Airlines' Envoy ground handling staff for their efforts in continuing ticket sales, along with passenger boarding and off boarding operations.

"The airport continues serve this whole region very well, because this a growing area," Westerman said. "It's been a solid collective effort here to keep flights going."

Airport administrative staff guided Westerman through the current passenger terminal, which dates back to before 1960. The tour showed Westerman that the proposed new terminal, slated to be built and possibly completed between next year and 2023, will benefit the public with far more space. Besides more square-footage, airport staff explained that the new terminal will be located on a safer public access route provided by East 19th Street - mainly because this route will avoid the current main access area off U.S. Highway 67 North that is frequently blocked by railroad freight trains.

Westerman also spoke to Transportation Security Agency personnel who told him security operations haven't run into any significant problems so far.

"It's been a challenge here for the last few months, but the flights are continuing and the new terminal will make things more convenient as well," Westerman said. "We hope to get air travel back up to normal levels, which will enable us to bring back regular flight schedules to pick up more passengers."

Texarkana Regional Airport Director Paul Mehrlich said he appreciated Westerman's visit.

"We were very happy to have our congressmen drop by and we are excited about the new airport terminal," he said. "We are moving forward with it's construction and we hope there are more possibilities for grant funds."


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