In airport news, Portland International’s (PDX) Concourse E is getting a big expansion; Air Canada opens a new lounge at Vancouver; faster security screening comes to New York LaGuardia; Miami’s Centurion Lounge is getting bigger; Nashville takes the wraps off a billion-dollar growth plan; and some U.S. airports lose Germany service as Airberlin moves up its shutdown.
The next step in Portland (Ore.) International’s long-term $1.3 billion overhaul is an expansion of its Concourse E. The Port of Portland has just hired Skanska as the contractor to lengthen the concourse by 820 feet, constructing a two-story extension that will add six gates to the facility. The existing portion of PDX Terminal E will also be renovated, and its baggage system will be overhauled. The $151 million project – which will enlarge Concourse E by 14,000 square meters — is expected to take three years. Concourse E is used by United, although long-term plans call for Southwest to move into the concourse, with United moving to the south side of the airport.
Air Canada has cut the ribbon on its newly renovated and expanded Maple Leaf Lounge at Vancouver International Airport. Open to qualifying Air Canada and Star Alliance customers, the lounge now occupies 1,250 square meters, with space for 258 persons. The two-level lounge has a business zone with desktop computers, printing and scanning services; hot and cold dining options and a chef’s station where custom dishes can be prepared; shower facilities; a TV area; a quiet zone with recliners; and free Wi-Fi. The new facility is decorated with the works of Canadian artists, and furnishings were created by Canadian designers.
Delta and the Transportation Security Administration have teamed up to bring a pair of new automated security lanes to Terminal C at New York LaGuardia. The airline said four of the new lanes will also be in operation by the end of this month at LGA’s Terminal D. The new security lanes – which are gradually coming to airports all over the country – allow several passengers to load their belongings into bins simultaneously. The bins are 25 percent larger than before, and empty bins are automatically returned to the beginning of the line by separate conveyor belts. The new design is estimated to move travelers through security checks up to 30 percent faster than before.
At Miami International, the airport’s board of commissioners has given a green light to American Express to expand its Centurion Lounge in Concourse D (near Gate D12 on the fourth floor). The project will give the lounge an additional 4,000 square feet of space. That will be taken up by a larger food buffet and beverage area, a new wine bar, more seating, a larger “tranquility area,” additional restrooms, and a pair of private telephone rooms. AmEx just opened a new Centurion Lounge at Hong Kong International Airport, and is due to cut the ribbon on another at Philadelphia International this month. It also changed its admission policy; the lounges are now open only to AmEx Platinum Card holders and Centurion members; other cardholders can no longer buy day passes for the lounges.
Officials at Nashville International have released details of a five-year, $1.2 billion plan to make over the airport. It calls for an overhauled terminal, an outdoor plaza area, and a big central entrance with lots of natural light. New construction in the plan includes a 288-room on-site hotel, a 2,000-space parking garage, an expanded Concourse D with more retail concessions, and additional short-term parking areas. The airport plans also allow for the eventual addition of a light rail link to downtown Nashville, although that is a separate city project. Officials said BNA is growing faster than any other U.S. airport of its size, with passenger numbers jumping by more than 11 percent last year.
Several U.S. airports will lose some service to Germany in the next few weeks as financially-troubled Airberlin has decided to halt its operations no later than October 28. Earlier, the carrier had hoped to keep most of its flights going until it could negotiate the orderly sale of its assets to other airlines, but it has decided that was an unrealistic goal. In August, Airberlin filed for insolvency in Germany following a decision by Etihad Airways, one of its major owners, to stop putting money into the company. Airberlin’s U.S. destinations from Berlin include Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York and San Francisco. From Dusseldorf, its U.S. schedule includes flights to Boston, Ft. Myers, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Orlando and San Francisco. However, it recently stopped its SFO-Berlin, LAX-Berlin, Chicago-Berlin and Boston-Dusseldorf flights. Lufthansa has already announced plans to start flying New York JFK-Berlin on November 7 and Miami-Dusseldorf on November 8.