by Brian Garvey ’20
T.F. Green Airport has taken the final step towards major renovations and changes, finalizing a master plan for extensive updates and expansion of their main terminal. The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) has developed this plan over the past 18 months, taking ideas from multiple open houses and forums aimed at figuring out where people really wanted to see improvements.
Last October, the RIAC introduced some of the new potential stores and restaurants, including Wahlburgers, Hope & Main, and Federal Hill Brick Oven Pizza. John Goodman, the director of public relations for RIAC, emphasized Rhode Island pride and heart when describing the updates, saying, “We want to make sure the airport is something every Rhode Islander is proud of and it puts our best step forward.”
T.F. Green Airport has seen steady growth and expansion in the last decade, with these expansions coming nearly three years after the airport completed extensive runway expansion. These expansions have made T.F. Green a full international airport with the needed runway capacity to operate efficiently. Goodman also stated, “In the last three years we have seen 12 percent growth.”
According to official airport records, T.F. Green has seen a consistent rise in travelers since 2015. T.F. Green has also been consistently recognized as one of the best airports in the country, with USA Today ranking it as the second best small airport in the country, and Travel + Leisure consistently ranking it within the top 10 airports in the country.
Joe McDonald ’20 said, “I would gladly fly in and out of T.F. Green airport over Boston Logan. It is so much easier to get in and out of T.F. Green, and I love the surrounding Warwick area. Flying into Boston is just such a hassle and way more bogged down with traffic.”
T.F. Green is a local favorite for many Providence College students, as the quick 20-minute drive is much more efficient than either an hour-train ride from South Station or the even longer drive from Boston down I-95.
Tom McMahon ’20 is a Warwick native and takes great pride in “his” airport. “I went to one of the open house meetings for the potential updates, and it seemed like they were really putting a lot of thought and care into what local people had to say,” said McMahon. “The airport is many people’s gateway into the great state of Rhode Island, and it is very important that it is a strong representation.”
T.F. Green also recently announced that it is getting a $4.7 million grant to modernize the terminal, acquire land, and study effective noise reduction strategies. Announced by Senator Jack Reed and titled the Airport Improvement Program, this grant for the RIAC will be going towards all of the proposed changes and updates to the airport. Goodman stated that the construction of new restaurants and shops, as well as improvements to the terminal’s public facilities, will begin this summer.