SOUTH BEND - South Bend International Airport is expanding its parking lot and making interior upgrades in a $4 million project, as it responds to a growing number of passengers. The airport authority says carriers have added new routes and larger planes, meaning higher demand for parking spots.

“We are on track to serve more than 800,000 air passengers this year,” said SBN’s executive director, Mike Daigle. “We’ve been closely monitoring parking capacity and due to this growth, we have had to accelerate the timeline to begin and complete this project prior to the busy Thanksgiving travel holiday.”

The first phase of the parking lot project will add 249 new parking spots in the long-term parking area. Daigle says the expansion will require changes to a parking lot entrance and roadway on the airport property.

Next spring, the airport will be making major changes to the rental car lot, doubling the number of spaces.

On the inside, the airport is replacing thousands of square feet of terminal flooring. The airport received a $138,000 capital development grant from Visit South Bend Mishawaka to help pay for some of the interior upgrades.

“SBN serves as the first and last impression for many visitors to St. Joseph County,” said Daigle. “The support from the St. Joseph County Tourism Capital Development Fund has allowed us to expedite the improved aesthetics and user experience leading to first-class amenities for all visitors.”