Airport pickup

A graphic released Wednesday depicts the new system for dropping off and picking up passengers in front of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport.

All parking spaces in the drop-off and pick-up area in front of the Aspen-Pitkin County Airport terminal are being eliminated this week and replaced with drive-through only lanes, airport officials said Wednesday.

The change is the latest step the airport has undertaken to meet national security standards that are mandated by the Transportation Security Administration at all U.S. airports, according to a news release.

The task of removing the spaces and creating the lanes begins on Friday, weather permitting.

“We have been gearing up for this change since the mid-winter when we had no choice other than to comply with the TSA security mandate,” Airport Director John Kinney said in a prepared statement.

In December, to comply with TSA regulations, the airport hired a security company to monitor the front-of-terminal parking spots to keep motorists from leaving their vehicles unattended as they went inside the terminal, as had become common practice for many years.

Kinney acknowledged that the change has been significant “for folks who have been accustomed to parking for lengths of time” at the terminal curbside.

For the most part, he said, airport customers have been “understanding and cooperative” with regard to the change.

Under the new lane system, departing travelers will be allowed enough time to hop out of cars in front of the terminal and make their way inside to catch flights. Arriving travelers may be picked up in front of the terminal, but vehicles will not be allowed to remain parked for more than a few minutes, much like the drop-off and pick-up systems at most airports across the country.

Under the new system, similar to the policy implemented in December, no unattended vehicles will be allowed, the release states.

In addition to the changes in front of the terminal, other airport parking-lot spaces will be given fresh coats of paint. Work is set to occur during the afternoon and evening hours when it is least disruptive to travelers.

The airport also issued a reminder that parking currently is free for the first hour in both the short- and long-term lots. As always, the Transportation Security Administration recommends arriving 90 minutes to two hours prior to a scheduled flight time.

For TSA-recommended travel tips, visit aspenairport.com/flight-information/tsa-travel-tips.