Construction is never easy, and CHS passengers are experiencing our growing pains first hand.
We’ve heard the feedback - refugee camp, third world country, disaster area, like walking through a horror movie. We see it too.Ceilings have been removed. Wires and other weird things are hanging overhead. Unfinished drywall lines the hallways. In place of soothing music are the sounds of hammers, drills and saws. There's a hard hat at every turn. It’sdusty, and it's even smelly some days. Weird South Carolina weather means its cold inside one day and warm the next.
It looks bad now, but by the end of 2015 we promise the airport will look so great that you won’t recognize it as the same place.
“We knew it would be a challenge rebuilding an airport while operating an airport. But closing the airport to renovate and expand to accommodate our growth was not an option for us, the airlines or the Charleston community,” said John Connell, deputy director of airports – facilities.
The current airport was considered modern when it opened in 1985. But 30 years later it does not meet the needs of today’s discerning traveler, one that expects modern facilities and amenities, upscale shopping and dining and an airport experience that is fun as well as easy.
Charleston International Airport has been an integral part of the Charleston region’s growth and its history. The Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program (TRIP) construction began in 2012. The first projects to be completed were the aprong expansion, a new rental Car Pavilion and the central energy plant. Under way is the Concourse B extension with five additional gates, a upgraded and modernized baggage handling system, a consolidated TSA screening checkpoint with multiple lanes, and yes, pre check. There will also be a spacious central hall, all new airline ticket counters, and new food, beverage and retail concessions.
The brown tile floors (and the clackity clack sound they make when suitcases are rolled over them) will be replaced with terrazzo in cool coastal tones. The brick walls on the terminal’s façade have been replaced with 16-foot-high glass walls, creating a brighter interior and making it easier for passengers to find their way when they pull up in front of the terminal. Inside, a two-story glass wall will create an expansive view of the airfield for plane spotting that does not currently exist.
“It’s hard to see it right now, but soon the airport will look brighter, feel bigger and will be a place that emulates the grace and charm of Charleston and the Lowcountry,” Connell said. “It will be a place the community will be proud of and that passengers will enjoy coming to. We promise.”
So to our passengers, and anyone else that has visited us lately, thank you! Thank you for your patience and understanding. Thank you for your feedback and thank you for your support. A new airport is on it's way and we cannot wait for you to see it.