CHS: Vision 2030
A four-year effort to transform Charleston International Airport (CHS) and accommodate passenger growth was completed in 2016. The Terminal Redevelopment and Improvement Program (TRIP) has revitalized the overall image of the airport and brought airport leadership to the forefront of proactive planning for continued future growth.
In late 2017, the Charleston County Aviation Authority engaged LS3P Associates in Charleston to envision how airport facilities may grow through time to meet expected passenger growth. Among the anticipated terminal improvements include:
- New parking deck
- Larger Ticketing Hall
- Airport Connector Road
- New Fuel Farm
- New Concourse C
- Extending Concourse A
Charleston International Airport has provided a pleasant and memorable passenger experience for decades in part because of its small scale and easy-to-use facilities. The primary focus moving forward is to accommodate growth without losing the high level of service that customers have come to expect.
The first step was an historical review and analysis of parking improvements and the impact of current parking demands on the surface lot, existing parking garage, and dependence on remote lots and shuttle bus service during peak seasons. Public parking demand increases with passenger growth, and this trend is expected to continue over the next several years.
Planning goals include providing a positive user experience (safety, wayfinding, and ease of use), providing clear and intuitive entries and exits, minimizing loss of surface parking spaces during construction and improving the rental car ready facilities on site.
During construction, users of the existing parking deck and the portion of the surface lot not blocked off for construction will continue to walk to the terminal as they do now. Remote Lots A and B will be expanded and combined to provide public parking. Shuttle buses will bring passengers to and from the remote parking/terminal.
Another part of the parking expansion will be to relocate and expand the staging area for taxis, downtown shuttle and ride-share operators. Also, the cell phone waiting lot will expand from 40 to 80 spaces to accommodate increasing demand for this courtesy service.
Vision 2030 - From the Roadway to the Runway
While parking is the first project we will tackle, our master growth plan includes:
Like Jet Fuel for the Economy
- Expanding the airline ticket counters, which are currently at capacity with eight airlines offering nonstop flights to 30 airports and 25 cities nationwide.
- Boarding area expansion to include a third concourse on the west side of the terminal with six additional gates. For a total of 21 gates that could handle up to 7 million passengers a year, a third concourse would provide improved facilities and capabilities to accommodate international flights should that opportunity arise. Long term, Concourse A, with five gates currently, could be expanded to provide four more boarding areas.
- Charleston County's plan for a new airport connector road will create the need to reconfigure how passengers and workers travel to the airport via Interstate 526 and surface roads like Dorchester Road. Long-term growth plans are for Boeing SC to expand its flight line across International Boulevard. This project is still in development.
CHS is a critical regional resource essential for continued economic growth and quality of life for residents. Since its inception, the airport has been an easy to use, low-stress transportation resource and a valuable asset to the region. It also has had a significant economic impact, pumping more than $1 billion dollars into the region’s economy through the jobs at its terminal and those jobs created as a result of visiting air travelers.
Significant passenger growth since 2010, and the expectation that the trend will continue means our work is not done.
CHS facilities have kept up with growth over the last 10 years by adding gates, modernizing terminal facilities, and adding parking while maintaining very high level of service and user satisfaction.
With continuing growth of airport facilities, it will be essential to reflect the overall character of the Charleston region and underscore what draws business and new residents here in the first place. The design will be aesthetically pleasing, with a good balance between architecture and the landscape; pedestrian-focused, with human-scale facilities that offer a quiet, tactile experience with clean air and subtle visual variety.