In airport news, San Francisco runway work could mean some delays; Oakland also plans a runway rehab; Baltimore-Washington will expand its international terminal; faster security screening lanes are coming to Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Seattle breaks ground on more Alaska Airlines gates.
San Francisco International has scheduled a major maintenance project for its Runway 28L that could mean some weekend flight delays over the next four months. Officials said the runway, which is used mainly for arriving flights, will be repaved and will get new centerline lights and ground markings. While most of the work will be done during late-night hours, officials said, the runway will be shut down during several weekends. The weekend closures are scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday through noon the following Monday on the weekends of March 31; April 7, 21 and 28; May 5, 12 and 19; and June 2 and 9. The schedule is subject to change depending on weather, and “some delays may occur during weekend closures,” official said.
A similar project is coming this summer at Oakland International, where Runway 12-30 is due to get an asphalt concrete overlay – something it needs every 15 years, officials said. The airport hasn’t issued a schedule for the work yet, but said it expects to exercise “a short-duration, full closure option” for the runway, which is typically is use 24 hours a day. During the closure, the airport will use a parallel taxiway as a temporary runway – the same thing it did during the last repaving in 2001. The airport didn’t say what the impact would be on flight operations, but it will discuss that and other details of the project at a public meeting on Thursday (February 16), scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Oakland’s Metropolitan Golf Links, 10051 Doolittle Drive.
Baltimore-Washington International this spring will start construction of six new gates for its international terminal, including two full-service gates and four for arrivals only. The project involves building a 70,000 square foot extension of BWI’s Concourse E. Last year, BWI added two international gates as part of its new D/E Connector project. Airport officials said international traffic at BWI has been surging in recent years as airlines like WOW and Norwegian started service there; Southwest is the biggest international operator there, with flights to eight destinations in Latin American and the Caribbean.
Minneapolis-St. Paul’s Metropolitan Airports Commission has approved a $1.6 million plan to install some of those new security screening checkpoints that use new design features to move passengers through the process as much as 40 percent faster. The checkpoints allow up to five persons at once to load items into plastic bins, use an automatic return conveyor belt to move empty bins back to the loading area, and shunt questionable bags off to a side station for inspection instead of holding up the line. They’ve been appearing in major airports recently including Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare and Los Angeles. The new MSP lanes will occupy four center lanes in Terminal 1’s south checkpoint, and should be in operation by this summer.
Officials at Seattle-Tacoma International have broken ground on an eight-gate, $550 million expansion of Alaska Airlines’ North Satellite Terminal. The existing structure will be extended 240 feet to the west, and will also get a new upper level mezzanine and a $41 million, 15,000 square foot rooftop lounge for Alaska’s customers. The project will more than double the amount of space available for shopping and dining concessions. After the expansion is finished in 2019, the existing North Satellite space will be renovated and modernized.