MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Mobile Airport Authority Board approved a new name for the Mobile Downtown Airport Brookley Aeroplex. Reflecting the airport’s growth, President Chris Curry suggested the name be changed to Mobile International Airport. The approval vote was unanimous.

With the new name comes upgrades. A new terminal will be built right next to the current terminal and will accommodate international service for both passengers and cargo. The Mobile Airport Authority says this will make the airport more competitive.

“For the momentum of the project, for the perception of not only our citizens who deserve premium air service at a reasonable price with plenty of direct flight destinations. But it’s important to communicate to the airlines our other constituency, and say hey you need to Fly Mobile, now,” said Elliot Maisel, the Chairman, and CEO of the Mobile Airport Authority.

The new name is on the table, as are big improvements for air travel. “Seems like a little thing, we’re just going to change our name. But it’s not. It’s a big deal,” said Maisel. He explained, “the image that it will portray for the city of Mobile, not just the name change but the actual construction of the airport, the visitors that will now have much greater access to Mobile, both for personal and lifestyle and for business.”

The name change will reflect major changes at the airport. Millions of dollars in federal funding are already approved for a new international terminal; the Mobile County Commission is chipping in $15 million.

“It’s also synergy with the Port of Mobile. For those businesses that are planning to locate to the United States, especially the Gulf Coast. We want to be part of that conversation now. So that in two or three years when they move, they can move to the Mobile International Airport,” said Chris Curry, the President of the Mobile Airport Authority.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved plans to relocate commercial flights downtown in April 2021.

The Airport Authority also unveiled renderings of what the new terminal could look like. The designs show a parking garage leading to 12 gates at the new terminal. The airport authority says they’ll start with 5 or 6 gates, and expand as needed. They say they believe there is a lot of room to grow, and that these changes will make others see Mobile as a destination city.

“We know right now 1 out of every 10 Baldwin County residents flies out of Mobile regional. When Frontier served this airport, it was 6 out of 10. So we know that there’s a market of our people that we need to capture and bring back to Mobile,” said Curry.

The Brookley legacy will remain for the newly-christened Mobile International Airport. The air code will remain BFM. The FAA still must approve the change.

Some work has begun on the project, airport officials say they expect the new airport to be fully operational by September 2024.