In U.S., airport developments, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson loses a ground transportation option; Los Angeles officials break ground on LAX’s extension of the Bradley International Terminal; CLEAR opens at Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Orlando unveils some details of its big South Terminal plans.
Two and a half years after it started operating at Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport, SuperShuttle has discontinued its shared-ride van service there. The company reportedly could not maintain a sustainable level of business on its service to the airport from downtown Atlanta, Midtown and Buckhead, especially in the face of new competition from Uber and Lyft. Both ride-sharing companies charge less for airport rides than traditional cab companies, and Uber has an even cheaper shared-ride option called UberPool. SuperShuttle had asked for permission to expand its service area beyond central Atlanta to the rest of the metro area, but that request was denied, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. SuperShuttle’s sister company ExecuCar continues to offer black car service in the area as before.
Los Angeles city officials went to LAX last week for the formal groundbreaking on phase one of the airport’s Midfield Satellite Concourse, which will supplement the existing Bradley International Terminal. The $1.6 billion, five-story structure will feature a 750,000 square foot passenger concourse. It will be linked to the Bradley Terminal by a 1,000-foot tunnel, and to other terminals by buses. Two of the new concourse’s 12 gates will be able to handle Airbus A380s and 747-8s, and the rest are designed to accommodate other modern wide-bodies including 777s and 787s and Airbus A330s and A350s. “The new gates are also expected to reduce the airport’s current reliance on remote gates on the west side of the airfield, which lack passenger services, concessions and other amenities,” the airport said. The concourse will devote 44,000 square feet to food and shopping concessions, and 60,000 to airline lounges. It should start welcoming passengers in late 2019. A few months ago, the airport issued a fly-through video showcasing the new concourse.
The latest airport to welcome CLEAR trusted traveler lanes is Minneapolis-St. Paul. The company opened its lanes – which allow members direct access to security screening – at both the north and south checkpoints in MSP’s Terminal 1. Delta Air Lines, which holds an equity stake in CLEAR, has promised to make the lanes available at all its major hubs. MSP becomes the 22nd U.S. airport to offer CLEAR’s service. Participants use biometric scans at CLEAR kiosks to bypass the regular security lines. CLEAR does not provide access to TSA’s PreCheck lines unless the participant is also a PreCheck member. Membership in CLEAR costs $179 a year, although members of Delta’s SkyMiles can get preferred rates of $79 to $99 a year.
Don’t miss: Delta’s deep discounts for CLEAR memberships
Architects working on the plans for a big new South Terminal at Orlando International Airport revealed that the three-story structure would use the top level for passenger arrivals and baggage claim. The baggage system is expected to use radio frequency technology to speed up the process. Government officials have yet to give final approval to the project, but the facility is considered necessary because the existing airport is operating at passenger levels above its capacity – up 10 percent last year to 41.5 million. The proposed South Terminal would be a multi-year project that would eventually bring 120 more gates to the airport. The major design feature of the new terminal would be a central “boulevard” that runs the length of the building, linking the ticketing and concessions area in the front of the terminal with a post-security gate area that has more concessions and lounges. Phase one is expected to open in 2020, but the entire project will take 25 years to complete.