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FLINT, MI-Bishop International Airport is planning expansions that could double its annual passenger capacity. Bishop is on track to continue its 20%-plus growth for the third straight year in 2004, while the industry average is less than 6%.

In October, Bishop for the first time in its history served 1 million passengers in a single year. Officials project total traffic for 2004 to reachabout 1.17 million. With planned upgrades and more parking, the airport could eventually handle 2 million passengers, Airport Director James L. Rice II says.

In January, officials will open a new ticket counter area that makes room for three more carriers. The Airport Authority Board will also consider approval next month of a planned expansion of the luggage claim section.

About 800 more parking spaces will be added in late 2005, and talks are under way to build a long-term parking garage.

Bishop is increasingly attracting fliers from throughout eastern Michigan, benefiting from its easy in-and-out reputation and Oakland County travelers who find it quicker and more convenient that DetroitMetropolitan Airport. An Air Travel Consumer Report, released by the US Department of Transportation in October, named Bishop the most on-time airport in the state for the past year.

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