Stephanie Ward, manager of aviation planning services for Mead & Hunt, explains where the terminal at the South Bend International Airport could be expanded if growth continues in the coming years. ED SEMMLER/SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE
Stephanie Ward, manager of aviation planning services for Mead & Hunt, explains where the terminal at the South Bend International Airport could be expanded if growth continues in the coming years. ED SEMMLER/SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE
SOUTH BEND — Imagine trying to determine what life is going to be like 20 years from now. 

That’s exactly what the South Bend International Airport is in the process of trying to figure out with local input and help from Mead & Hunt, a national architectural and engineering firm that performs such services for airports across the country. 

Every 20 years, airports are expected by the Federal Aviation Administration to update their master plans in order to ensure they anticipate future demand and changes that could impact the movement of people and products by air. 

For example, some of the fastest growth at the airport in recent years is the result of the rapid expansion of e-commerce, necessitating the expansion of cargo operations by FedEx and UPS at the airport, said Mike Daigle, CEO and executive director of the airport. 

Should that explosive growth continue, the airport — which broke 100 million pounds of cargo in 2019 before the pandemic-induced slowdown — wants to be prepared with the possible extension of its main east-west runway to allow for the possibility of even larger aircraft than the Boeing 757s and Airbus 320s mostly used today. 

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