Safety, quieter skies, cleaner air

Airport Modernization


In partnership with the community, the Aspen/Pitkin County Airport has laid the groundwork to modernize the airport property including the airfield and passenger terminal. The last major renovation of the terminal was in 1986/87. The runway has been pieced together since it was first paved in 1957 and is rapidly deteriorating.

At the core of modernization are the community’s goals of safety, noise reduction, and decreasing pollutants. At the direction of the Pitkin County Commissioners, the airport is working to weave those goals, outlined in the Common Ground Recommendations, into future renovations at the airport.

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Aspen/Pitkin County

What is modernization?

Improvements related to safety, noise reduction, and emissions are at the core of the airport’s modernization goals. To meet those goals, our facilities and systems must adapt to and meet a changing world.

While modernization started with a community visioning process, it must also become part of an Airport Layout Plan (ALP), a technical document used by the Federal Aviation Administration to program funding for the airport. In 2020, the Pitkin County Commissioners directed the airport to update its existing ALP to include community goals and aspirations.

A large line outside of the security checkpoint at ASE
Aspen/Pitkin County

Why do we need modernization?

While airports across the globe have implemented innovations to critical infrastructure like passenger terminals, Aspen’s terminal hasn’t been renovated in almost 40 years. Not only has the community expressed a desire for updates, the FAA is requiring the airport to update the airfield to comply with safety standards.

Aspen/Pitkin County

What led up to modernization?

Contemporary modernization efforts kicked off in 2019 and 2020 when a community-led process to improve the airport began in conjunction with stipulations from the Federal Aviation Administration to meet safety standards. Since opening in 1946, ASE has prioritized innovation. The terminal, constructed in 1976, was the first commercial building in the country to use passive solar heating. ASE has always been driven by a spirit of modernization and today’s plans aim to continue to improve the airport for the traveling public of the future.