AVOCA, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — An improvement plan years in the making is coming to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport. The project is all about eliminating potential delays to flight departures.

The source of what can be a common delay at the airport centers around a cavernous piece of land. It’s what’s now planned for that land that will help put time back into your schedule.

What planes do at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport is something that should become obsolete in a matter of months. The pilot creates enough room to take off on the existing taxiway because the airport lacks a parallel taxiway.

“We’re always looking to upgrade. What ways can we serve the traveling public, pilots, crews,” explained Carl Beardsley, Executive Director at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport.

Eyewitness News got exclusive access to the site of what will be the latest airport upgrade. It’s a large chasm on airport property that will be filled thanks to a $7.2MIL federal grant from the Airport Improvement Program. In its place, a 1,200-foot parallel taxiway extension will be installed.

“Without a parallel taxiway, there’s aircraft that have to turn around and back taxi. Once we get the taxiway in place, they’re not going to have to do that which is something that we’re happy about, and the airlines are happy about,” Beardsley added.

Beardsley says, “Oh, it might save minutes. It could save really, probably 15 minutes.”

Having an extended taxiway could have a big payoff in winter. Planes that are de-iced sometimes have to wait for another plane to back taxi costing the original plane precious minutes by having to de-ice yet again.

And that could cause a much longer delay.

“That is frustrating. It’s frustrating and it’s time-consuming,” said John Duffey, an air traveler from Atlanta.

Frequent flyer John Duffey of Atlanta is happy to hear that back taxi delays will become a thing of the past at the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International airport.

“That sounds great. That would be a big help. That would be a big help,” Duffey added.

Work on the extended taxiway project is expected to begin in September. The airport executive director tells Eyewitness News the project is expected to be completed next June.