Starting this month, the old air traffic control tower at San Francisco International Airport will come down, making room for a new outdoor public observation deck– a rarity at U.S. airports.
Last year SFO opened its shapely new control tower, making the old one obsolete…and a barrier to the full apron view required from the new tower.
So starting this month the old tower will be removed progressively with the aid of a crane, along with scaffolding on the upper floors of the building. Construction teams plan to have the top “cab” section of the former tower removed by the end of March.
The project, budgeted at $55 million, will also remove the base structure below the former tower, which dates back to 1954 and does not meet current seismic requirements.
In its place, will be a new facility that will include offices, a café, and a glassed in public observation area, as the location affords views of all four runways at SFO. An airport spokesperson told TravelSkills that the plan is to have a pre-security entry point to the viewing area, which means you can enter it without having an airline ticket.
Eventually SFO will have another perch from which to peer at planes- a rooftop lounge atop the new on-airport Hyatt Regency — however its views will not be as commanding.
UPDATE: Check out how Alaska Airlines plans to add a new rooftop lounge and deck at SFO!
The project scope also includes an additional aircraft boarding gate in Terminal 2, anticipated to be ready for use by the end of March- just in time for Alaska Airlines big SFO expansion.
All phases of the project are expected to be completed by the end of January 2019. See you on the deck!
Outdoor observation decks at airport are relatively rare in the US… only recently has Delta added them to Sky Clubs in Atlanta and New York. The Star Alliance lounge in LAX has one, too, but views are limited.
What’s your favorite vantage point for plane spotting? Visited an outdoor viewing area before? Where? Please share your observations in the comments!