Fresno-Yosemite International Airport Makeover

April 7, 2008 8:40:47 PM PDT
Fresno-Yosemite International Airport has begun a nine-million dollar makeover.Visitors will be stunned by the presence of giant sequoia trees in the middle of the airport lobby. The sounds of progress are greeting travelers at FYI crews are putting up a wall to cover half of the baggage claim area which will soon double in size. Rushed passengers focused solely on retrieving their luggage from the carousel will notice a dramatic difference in the airport lobby over the next 14 months. These steel columns will be transformed into four groves of life-like giant sequoia trees.

Aviation Director Russ Widmar says, "This was my idea. People didn't really like it around here when I suggested that we might want to do something that really brought out the character of this area and made this airport really unique."

Three years later the project is underway, the idea is create a tighter bond between FYI and nearby national parks. Widmar says, "What we're gonna do is create a real ambience and we'll have a split rail fence with some log seating around so you can enjoy it just as if you were at Mariposa Grove."

Work continues on the airport's new car rental facility. It should be finished when the other upgrades are completed. Widmar believes the big trees will be the first and last impression of Fresno's Airport.

"The big question is gonna be, are those real? They are gonna be so accurate."

Airport officials hope people keep flying so they'll see the new changes. FYI airport has set records in each of the last five years serving 1-point-3 million passengers last year.