Apron Expansion creates much needed space


The CHS terminal building is surrounded – by 543,600 square feet of new concrete. That’s equivalent to 12 ½ acres, or the size of 10 football fields.

The Apron Expansion Project at Charleston International Airport is wrapping up now, but has provided much needed ramp space for aircraft refueling, servicing and maintenance and for other airport operations. We also now have enough parking area to accommodate five aircraft at the east end of the terminal building. On the west side, the expanded apron makes it easier for aircraft to maneuver at the gates. Airside, overlooking the airfield, the expanded apron paves the way to extend Concourse B and add five new gates.

Building an airport apron is similar to building a residential street or an interstate highway. But there are differences. After all an airport apron has to be strong enough to endure the weight of several fully loaded airplanes. (See exhibits to the left)

The residential street, interstate highway and the apron all have a compacted subgrade followed by a base that is a mixture of gravel and crushed concrete. On top of that is either asphalt (residential street) or concrete (highway and airport apron). The apron, however, has 17 inches of concrete (compared to 10 inches on the interstate) to stand up to the weight of planes.

The apron expansion, including lighting and taxiway signage, took 10 months to complete and was performed by McCarthy Improvement Co. of Davenport, Iowa.

The apron expansion preceeded our$189 million CHS Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program. TRIP, for short,is already under way with the construction of a new Rental Car Pavilion and Central Energy Plant. Over the next two years, the airport also will expand one of its concourses, build five new gates, modernize its baggage handling systems, create a consolidated security screening checkpoint, upgrade airline check-in stations and welcome a variety of retail stores, pubs and restaurants for passengers to enjoy.

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