In airport news, an Admirals Club shuts down at Dallas/Ft. Worth, and some new amenities open; Denver International plans an even larger expansion than previously announced; construction starts on a big project at Chicago Midway; Miami International gets those automated TSA checkpoint lanes; and San Luis Obispo gets a new passenger terminal.
American Airlines is notifying members of its Admirals Club airport lounge program that the Club in Dallas/Ft. Worth International’s Terminal A has closed for renovations. American’s website didn’t say when it will reopen, but the airline has other Admirals Clubs in DFW’s Terminals B, C and D. In other DFW news, Coca-Cola has cut the ribbon on a pair of “Entertainment Zones” at the airport, located near Gates A13 and E13. The sponsored lounges, called The Bubble, offer charging stations, TVs, open seating, and vintage Coca-Cola decor (and Coca-Cola branded beverages, of course). And pancake provider IHOP has opened an IHOP Express in Terminal E – the first one in a post-security airport location. It offers all-day breakfasts and provides both sit-down and take-out service.
Denver International’s big plans to expand its passenger concourses by adding 26 more aircraft gates has now gotten a lot bigger. Airport officials say they have revised that expansion project and now expect to add 39 more gates within four years. The construction is expected to cost $1.5 billion, according to the Denver Post – and that is in addition to the proposed $1.8 billion overhaul of DEN’s central passenger facility, the Jeppesen Terminal, which calls for the relocation of TSA security screening to the building’s upper level. The expansion should allow DEN to handle 80 million annual passengers. It was built to accommodate 50 million, but last year passenger numbers topped 58 million.
At Chicago Midway, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and other officials recently broke ground on a $104 million construction project that will give the airport a new 80,000 square foot security checkpoint pavilion and an expanded pedestrian bridge above South Cicero Avenue. The new centralized security checkpoint will be seven times wider than the existing security hall, and will allow for the addition of more lanes. “This development, combined with new TSA automated lanes, is expected to increase the hourly throughput from 2,500 to 5,000 passengers per hour—double the existing capacity,” a spokesman said. It’s just a part of a $223 million Midway Airport improvement project that is expected to bring many more passenger concessions as well.
Miami International is the latest airport to install those new automated TSA security screening lanes that are designed to move passengers through the process faster. The two new lanes will process American Airlines passengers in MIA’s Terminal D. Like the automated lanes already in place at other airports, the MIA lanes will allow five passengers at once to put their belongings in bins for x-raying, and will use motorized belts to move bins through the x-ray and empty ones back to the beginning of the line. Bins are larger than previous ones, and have RFID tags for tracking purposes.
San Luis Obispo County Airport (SLO), the gateway to California’s Central Coast, may just be a regional airport, but it just opened a new 56,000 square foot passenger terminal that is several times larger than the old facility. It has lots of room for expansion: SLO expects to handle 500,000 passengers this year, but the new terminal can accommodate 1.2 million. Besides intrastate travel, the airport has been adding more interstate flights like new service from Seattle and Denver. The new terminal features enhanced security screening technology and new food-and-beverage outlets.
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