LAX skytower restaurant under renovation during the LAX airport expansion and renovation project

North America is experiencing an airport renovation boom. Aging airports and the growth in many metropolitan areas have sparked hundreds of airport renovation and expansion projects across the country. Cities, counties and airport operators have recognized the need to update airports to meet today’s needs, and they are allocating funds to expand, renew and update existing airports.

Airport renovation and expansion projects are focusing on improving the passenger experience from arrival to departure, which means that terminals are getting a lot of the renovation funds. This includes expanding terminal capacity to accommodate more passengers comfortably, improving terminal transport and baggage systems to move passengers and their belongings faster, adding or upgrading shopping and dining opportunities, as well as other revenue generating areas, and of course improving security systems and logistics to reduce wait times.

Major US Airport Renovation Projects

Denver International tents and parking garage that are part of DIA airport renovation and expansion project

With over 19,000 airports and an average age of 40 years, not a single American airport made the top 30 in ranking of the top 100 best airports in the world in 2019. International investment in airports has outpaced the US for some time as expanding and modernizing economies have spurred major investment. In the US, while there are few new airport projects on the horizon, there are a number of major airport expansions underway. Here are just a few:

Chicago O’Hare (ORD) is giving the airport an $8.7 billion dollar upgrade. Three existing terminals will be renovated. Aging Terminal 2 will be demolished and completely replaced. The international terminal will add an additional 350,000 square feet. Capacity will increase with 35 new gates and 40 existing gates will be replaced. A new automated baggage handling system will feature baggage ID technology to speed handling and reduce errors. The project will expand parking for both planes and cars, as well as make roadway improvements, and add new retail and other amenities.

Los Angeles International (LAX), preparing for the 2028 Olympics, is undergoing an enormous $14 billion expansion that will generate 121,000 construction-related jobs. The sprawling old airport will be transformed with two new terminals, reconfigured roads and runways, a new parking structure and a giant rental car center. There will be 12 new gates that can handle “super-jumbo” aircraft for international flights. A new 2-¼ mile driverless electric train will connect the whole complex together and will accommodate 10,000 riders an hour. The project also includes an expansion of LA’s light rail to connect the airport to the area’s regional transport system.

Denver International Airport (DIA) ranked 32nd in the Top 100 airports, the top ranked American airport but down from 29th last year. DIA is ranked the nation’s 5th busiest, with tremendous growth in traffic in the last few years, handling 64.5 million passengers last year and anticipating 80 million by 2025. To handle this and maintain its reputation as the nation’s most reliable and convenient airport, the facility is undergoing a $3.5 billion upgrade. The terminal will add 39 new gates and the entire Great Hall, the open tent area that provides passenger with retail and other services, will be completely renovated. The new security area will reduce wait times with new technology and a better location, taking over space in the obsolete ticket counter lobby (ticketing will be largely automated). The DIA project also includes upgrades to the people mover, including new train cars, and the baggage systems, as well as airfield and roadway improvements.

Airport Renovations Logistics Issues a Challenge

Airport renovation projects mean lots of people and equipment moving in and out of already cramped airport locations as different project phases are completed and contractors come and go. Organizing the logistics of such big projects can be a challenge, such as finding adequate office and warehouse space for the many contractors who need space to complete their work. Airports under renovation also need temporary facilities to redirect terminal activities like baggage handling or temporary waiting areas, or for other operations such as temporary hangars or storage buildings. Temporary buildings, such as Allsite’s versatile tension fabric structures, can provide quickly available, relocatable and comfortable indoor space when and where needed for use during airport renovation projects.

Temporary Fabric Structures for Airport Renovation and Expansion

Allsite tension fabric structure at airport on tarmac with clamshell doors. At sunset.

Airport renovation and expansion projects inevitably disrupt normal traffic flows and activities. When terminal space is lost and service buildings are not available, temporary fabric structures can provide a fast and convenient solution to add to public spaces or work space for contractors and airport staff. Allsite temporary fabric buildings are sturdy, wind and weather-resistant, open span and high clearance structures that can be used for almost any kind of activity. Once ordered and configured, they can be installed and up and running in about a week. With a variety of anchoring solutions, these buildings are as sturdy as regular structures, but don’t require a building foundation so they can be installed almost anywhere including pavement, tarmac, gravel, turf and even wet or rocky ground. Modular, and supported by a high strength extruded aluminum frame, these fabric structures come in a variety of widths and customized lengths to fit the needs of the operations.

Fulfill Operations and House Aircraft with Allsite Temporary Fabric Buildings

Temporary fabric buildings are a great solution for a variety of aviation activities encountering space shortages during airport renovation and expansion projects. They can be set up as temporary baggage handling areas, passenger processing areas, or as a storage facility for inventory or equipment when terminal and service buildings are not available. They can be useful to handle the influx of contractors and their teams to the airport area over the duration of the renovation project. As lightweight, modular structures, they can be relocated quickly and easily around the project area for use where they are most needed as the work phases progress. Available in widths up to 48m (157’)  and indefinite lengths, they are also useful as aircraft hangars to store aircraft or for use as temporary MRO or maintenance hangars.

Allsite works closely with our clients in the aviation field to identify and provide solutions needed to complete projects on time and on budget. For information or a quote on an Allsite fabric structure for use during an airport expansion or renovation project, contact Allsite today at 888-599-5112.

Author Peter Milligan

Peter Milligan is Allsite's Director of Business Development, with degree in Psychology from Lafayette College and 14 years experience in matching customers with Tension Fabric Structure solutions. Read more about Peter and the rest of our team at https://allsitestructures.com/about/

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