SPRINGFIELD, Mo. Renovations are just about complete at the Springfield-Branson National Airport, where record passenger numbers have lead to the first big upgrades for the airline terminal since it opened in 2009.
"Now that we have a million passengers, it's much easier for the restaurant company to justify an investment, bigger investment, into the facilities," Kent Boyd, a spokesperson for the airport, said.
Expanded and remodeled, the restaurant in the gate area is now 50 percent larger, with more seating, a revamped kitchen that allows for more menu options, and a bar area.
Other upgrades put in place in the last couple months include better complimentary Wi-Fi for travelers, as well 80 new charging stations throughout the terminal when there were just a handful before.
"It's really nice to be able to come and relax before your flight and not have to worry about what you're going to eat, and get something healthy and delicious," said Samantha Sudduth, an airline passenger.
Record passenger numbers are expected to top one million for the first time ever in 2018. Airport leaders said the climbing numbers convinced an existing airport restaurant company to expand to meet the increasing demand.
There is also a chance airlines may add additional flights or destinations in coming years, Boyd said.
"As long as the economy continues to be strong, I think passenger numbers will continue to grow at the pace they are, and that will continue to get the attention of the airlines," he said.
The expanded restaurant at SGF officially opened to customers Wednesday. There are a few details of the renovation still in progress.