The new terminal at the Lafayette Regional Airport will open for flights next week, officials announced Thursday.

The first flights out of the 120,000-square-foot building that is twice the size of the current one will be Jan. 20, marking just over seven years since the process of replacing the old terminal began following voters approving a temporary 1-cent sales tax for the new building. 

A ceremony is set for 10 a.m. Wednesday with Gov. John Bel Edwards expected to attend. 

The arriving flights on Wednesday will be the final ones into the old terminal, airport director Steve Picou said, and the airlines will relocate their aircrafts to the new terminal. The 7 a.m. flights on Jan. 20 will have a water cannon salute from the fire department, Picou said. 

The $150 million building will include a number of upgrades from the old terminal, including an inline bag system that resembles one commonly found in most airports. Passengers will check in and hand over their large bag to the airline personnel, who will send it back on a conveyor to be screened in a secure, non-public room.

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The building is also more spacious, with its wide concourses and larger waiting areas. The wider space will allow for a second TSA security checkpoint for passengers with room for a third after the old terminal operated for a long time with only one, causing some passengers to miss flights while stuck in line to have their bags screened.

The terminal will have five gates: Delta at Gate 1, United at gates 2 and 3, American at Gate 4 and a fifth gate to be available if necessary, and each gate will have new jet bridges. In one of many examples of design with a nod to the future expansion, the terminal has room for two more gates to the south to be built.

It will have 966 parking spots, an increase of about 200.

Visitors will be able to access food and drink outlets on both sides of the security checkpoint, airport officials said. Rental car parkings lots will be located just outside the companies' counters. 

The old terminal is scheduled to be demolished later this year. 

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