TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – After months of anticipation, on Saturday, groundbreaking for Texarkana Regional Airport’s new multi-million dollar terminal was held.

In addition to the groundbreaking for the new terminal, American Airlines celebrated its 90th anniversary with the Texarkana airport.

Many Texarkana officials and members of the community came together to witness the groundbreaking of Texarkana Regional’s second terminal. The first terminal was built in 1960.

“Patronize Texarkana and not drive to Little Rock, Dallas, or Shreveport. We truly need them to buy tickets. In fact, tickets are very affordable out of Texarkana,” said Don Ruggles, former board member.

Paul Mehrlich

Paul Mehrlich, director of Texarkana Regional, said it’s hoped the new facility will attract more travelers across the four-state area. By encouraging people to fly out of Texarkana instead of the other surrounding airports. Officials say the goal is to eventually have four airlines.

“This airport is really being built for our local community,” Mehrlich said. “You know – we want people to come out here and have a really good comfortable experience. And uh – really be able to enter anywhere into the world right from their own backyard.”

In the midst of the celebration, many people got to jump aboard a historic Douglas DC-3 for a tour. The airplane, one of the oldest DC3s in the world that’s still flying, represented the Flagship Texarkana, one of the earliest flying planes flying out of Texarkana.

Local businesses like The Texarkana Emergency Center, Famer’s Bank and Trust, and Eagle Distributing sponsored the DC-3 plane.

“When I travel for business or pleasure I try to come in and out of the Texarkana Regional Airport just because it’s so easy to get in and out of. You go to Dallas, or Little Rock or Shreveport you have to worry about parking. You have to worry about fees for your car. And it’s a lot more difficult to get your luggage in and out of. Here it’s a hometown feel,” said Dr. Matt Young, Texarkana’s health authority.

Mehrlich said the $36 million project is funded by aviation grants and the Department of Public Transportation.

The terminal is projected to be complete by 2024.