Coming in 2015: A world-class airport


Charleston International Airport isthe first and last impression that more than 3 million people a year have of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

Considered modern when it was built in 1985, the airport terminal is about to undergo a massive renovation that will awe the locals and tempt visitors to return again and again. With a brighter and expanded appearance that emulates the grace and charm of coastal South Carolina, the airport soon will stand out as a new, modern gateway to the Lowcountry and the world.

The $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.

The brown tile floors (and the clackity clack sound they make when suitcases are rolled over them) will be replaced with terrazzo in cool ocean tones. The brick walls on the terminal’s fa├žade will be 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.

“The goal of the Charleston County Aviation Authority is to provide a first-class facility that echoes the quality, culture and beauty of all the communities in the Lowcountry and the state of South Carolina,” said Paul Campbell, executive director of airports.

The popularity of air travel has grown significantly across the nation. Coupled with many changes in the aviation industry, the time has come to update and expand the current airport facility to address the needs of the traveling public now and for years to come.

This renovation will accommodate the 3 million passengers a year that already use the airport and allow for expansion in passenger travel through 2030.

“When the current terminal complex at the airport was dedicated on March 30, 1985, it was modern and state-of-the-art for the time and served the needs of the community and the traveling public,” Connell said. “More than 25 years later, it is time for the airport to change.”

Today’s traveler, whether on a business trip or one of the millions of tourists that visits the Lowcountry each year, is more discerning and sophisticated. Passengers expect airports to provide modern amenities, upscale shopping and dining options and a travel experience that is pleasant, efficient and sophisticated.

Charleston International Airport is also an important part of the economic engine that drives the region and the state.

The Aviation Authority has a strong, long-standing partnership with the U.S. Air Force and is developing new relationships with Boeing, its newest aviation neighbor at the airport. The airport plays a vital role in welcoming new business and new residents seeking to move here, a trend sparked in part by the national accolades the Charleston area has received from the likes of Conde’ Nast and Travel and Leisure magazines.

In the same location since 1929, the airfield has been an integral part of the Charleston region’s growth and its history. Now, it is poised to become a world-class gateway to and for a global community.

Charleston International is transforming itself from the inside out. We are building on our foundation and on our history in this community.This project is the next chapter in the airport’s history as we prepare to open new doors to the world in support of travel, business and commerce.

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