FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Yosemite International Airport will be getting some major upgrades.
On Friday, officials broke ground on a terminal expansion project called "FAT Forward" that they hope will bring more non-stop flights in and out of the country.
The project aims to bring significant upgrades to the Fresno Yosemite international airport by the fall of 2025.
"What we were trying to do pales to what is going to happen here next," said Assemblymember Jim Patterson.
Patterson, who was Fresno's mayor when the airport first changed its name to Fresno Yosemite International, recalled its impact.
"There was a little bit of skepticism and a little bit, 'What?' The mayor named it FYI, and we don't have any international (flights.) What we did back then is what Jerry Dyer is doing now," said Patterson.
"Construction on the terminal expansion will include a new concourse wing, and expanded security and screening checkpoint, a new federal inspection station for international arrivals and an added waiting area for family and friends," said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer.
International flights are already some of the airport's busiest, but they are handled with a clunky process.
Arriving passengers must walk down a ramp onto the tarmac and into a very basic immigration and customs facility.
Meanwhile, the plane must be towed several hundred feet back to a gate to pick up departing passengers.
The new terminal will make the process more pleasant for arriving passengers and speed up aircraft turnaround times.
"We think there are other opportunities to expand beyond not only service to Mexico and South America, Central America but to Europe and Asia," said Rep. Jim Costa.
The plan will also add new food options and a significant expansion of the TSA checkpoint, a welcome announcement for any traveler who's had to wait in a line recently that snakes back to baggage claim.
The project will also include two additional gates at the airport.
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