These days, first-time visitors walk into Charleston International and notice construction alongside a bright and open facility. What they don’t see is how far the terminal redevelopment project has come.
And, yes, four years after work began, it is almost done. There has been progress of late, including:
- All five gates on Concourse A are scheduled to be open on or about April 1.
- Construction on the center median in front of the terminal is nearing completion on or about April 1.
- The two-story glass panels in the Central Hall food court are installed. When open it will give passengers and visitors expansive views of the runways and taxiways.
- Construction on four new restaurants is about to get under way in the food court, with summertime openings planned.
Built in 1985, CHS was best described as brown and brick. Considered modern for the time, it was quaint and easy to navigate. You could walk from one side to the next in a couple of minutes. It will remain easy to navigate but we’ve changed from quaint, small-town airport to a sophisticated and modern airport that is growing and serves a bustling community where business are tourism are booming.
“This is not a case of build it and the passengers will come. They are here,” said Paul G. Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, which owns and operates CHS along with two general aviation airports in the region.
Today CHS is breaking passenger records year after year. In 2015, there were 3.4 million passengers and eight airlines with more than 100 daily arrivals and departures. Six airlines currently operate at CHS but we are poised to hit 3.7 million passengers by the end of 2016, based on growth projections.
All that growth means the Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program (TRIP, for short) is critical to CHS’ future.
Construction began in 2012 to build an addition that became our Rental Car Pavilion. By the time the Rental Car Pavilion opened in 2014, major construction inside the terminal was under way. Four years in the making it is almost over.
Construction is expected to wrap in all the public areas this year – spring for everything except the new food court, which is slated for a summertime opening.
“We’re all looking forward to completing this project,” Campbell said. “Our tenants, our employees and our passengers have been patient and supportive throughout the construction. With work almost complete, they can see how great the airport will be in the not to distance future.”