4 major Texas airport projects advance
Airports too are getting bigger in Texas: Several prominent ones are expanding further in the coming years, with new terminals, concourses and other infrastructure.
As the air travel industry continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, work previously put on hold is moving forward. Many airport upgrade projects are also getting a boost from the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, including $2.89 billion in fiscal year 2023 and $15 billion overall.
Here are four airport projects taking off soon in the Lone Star State:
$6.5 billion worth of projects at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport
As the city continues to grow, Austin’s main airport has increasingly struggled to accommodate passengers, but it now has 61 projects worth $6.5 billion planned over the next two decades to fix that. They include a new concourse with 10 additional gates that will connect to the main terminal by an underground tunnel, slated to break ground by 2030, as well as other expansions and upgrades. It is funded through bonds, the IIJA and other sources.
Construction has started on the $165 million Barbara Jordan Terminal upgrades, which will bring three new gates, two relocated gates and new concessions and other facilities by spring 2026. In the longer term, three gates will be removed to build the tunnel connecting the terminal to the new concourse.
Numerous builders are at work, according to the airport: Greeley, Colorado-based Hensel Phelps is doing Westside terminal expansion work, while Baltimore-headquartered Whiting-Turner is building the outbound baggage handling system and TSA improvements.
Other projects are also underway. The Gate 13 renovation will allow for more efficient bus operation and ground loading of planes. San Antonio, Texas-based Alpha Building Construction is doing the interior work and Hensel Phelps is doing exterior work. In addition, Kansas City, Missouri-based JE Dunn is building a new cargo facility.
Pre-design and building removal work is also underway on a new midfield concourse that will replace the South Terminal, according to the airport. Plans had been delayed by legal wrangling with a private terminal operator, which had sued to block the airport from taking over its space to accommodate the project. The City of Austin approved on June 1 the airport’s offer to pay $88 million to settle the dispute.
$4.8 billion Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport expansion
Dallas-Fort Worth International, the country’s second-largest airport, recently announced an expansion as part of a 10-year use and lease agreement with American Airlines, which includes construction of a sixth terminal. The project also entails renovation of the existing Terminal C and other upgrades and will bring 24 new gates in total.
Design work was underway when COVID-19 hit and the project was put on hold, but it’s now full steam ahead. The new Terminal F includes 15 new gates, and will cost an estimated $1.63 billion. The expansion of the Central Terminal Area — including Terminal C, “pier” expansions off Terminal A and Terminal C and upgrades to roadways and terminal access — have a price tag of $2.72 billion. Some funding comes from the IIJA.
Terminal F construction will start in the second half of 2024 and wrap by the end of 2026, according to the Dallas Morning News, while Terminal C will expand in three to four phases and be complete by 2028. The airport has not yet named contractors for any of the phases.
$2.5 billion San Antonio International Airport project
San Antonio International Airport plans to build a new terminal and upgrade runways, roads and parking as part of its 20-year, $2.5 billion airport strategic development plan to keep up with growth. The new terminal will be bigger than the two existing terminals combined, with up to 17 gates. Pre-construction is expected to start in 2024 with a target completion date of March 2028.
The first of the projects will be smaller than the rest. Greeley, Colorado-based Hensel Phelps will design and build a new ground load facility, relocate an existing gate and create additional overnight parking for aircraft. Construction on this portion is scheduled to start in 2024 and be complete by 2025.
Other improvement projects include modernizing the outbound baggage handling system in terminals A and B, which is scheduled to be completed in November 2025. All the work will be paid for via funding from FAA grants, the IIJA, airport revenue and fees and airport bonds.
$450 million West Concourse upgrade at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport
Southwest Airlines plans to expand Hobby Airport, a key gateway to the South-Central region of the U.S and to Latin America. The project will add seven more gates in the West Concourse, as well as new baggage claim carousels, upgrades to the baggage handling system and restrooms. The price tag for the updates are $450 million, and will come from Houston Airports construction and improvement funds, a spokesperson for Houston Airports said in an email.
Construction work is scheduled to begin early next year, and is estimated to be complete in 2026. The project must still be approved by the Houston City Council, according to Houston Airports, and will likely take it up in the coming weeks. The airport has not yet selected contractors.