The average U.S. airport terminal is more than 40 years old, according to the Airports Council International-North America. A report the trade group released in 2021 suggests that surging passenger traffic and logistical challenges arising from growing safety and security requirements place U.S. airports in need of $115 billion for improvements.
An infusion of nearly $1 billion from the bipartisan infrastructure law has spurred significant modernization projects across multiple U.S. airports.
Albany International Airport in upstate New York is undergoing a major runway improvement project led by Turner Construction. The project is part of a $100 million expansion that received $60 million in funding from New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s $230 million Upstate Airport Economic and Revitalization Competition. The additional $40 million will come from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the American Rescue Plan, according to comments from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a press release from Hochul’s office.
The renovation involves modernizing the airport entranceways, relocating and expanding the security area, adding more seating and waiting lounges, upgrading HVAC systems, providing facilities for business travelers to attend conferences and meetings, extending the landside connection between the airport and the parking lot and introducing additional amenities, including a public arts area, a children’s play zone, and new green spaces, Hochul’s office reported. The project’s scope also includes improving indoor air quality and filtration standards, according to a separate news release Turner Construction issued in August.
As part of a master plan update to address airport changes and future plans, Albany County Airport Authority CFO Michael Zonsius recommended the authority authorize the purchase of a vehicle alignment machine in March 2023 to support the maintenance of roughly 50 authority-owned vehicles. Construction Dive recently reported that the Albany airport renovation is slated to wrap up in early 2025.
New York’s Buffalo Niagara International Airport, which began a rehabilitation project on its main runway in May, is slated to complete the reconstruction by mid-September, the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority told WBEN on Aug. 28.
The NFTA, which manages the airport, said the renovation is preventive maintenance to improve safety. The repaving process includes new LED lighting fixtures and conduits laid under the runway for edge, center and touchdown lights, Rick Hines, NFTA’s resident engineer on the project, told WGRZ. WBEN reported that the next round of runway renovations at Buffalo is scheduled for mid-2025. These renovations will involve removing or replacing concrete beneath the asphalt at the opposite end of the 8,800-foot runway.
Meanwhile, more than 100 workers and vehicles are working at night to finish repaving Reagan National Airport’s main runway outside of Washington, D.C, according to DCist. The rehabilitation project, which began in May, involves repaving its primary runways and replacing base materials from six to eight inches deep, airport representatives said. Overnight work is expected to continue until mid-November and resume in spring 2024 after a pause during the winter.
Other notable airport renovations underway include Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which is spending between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion to renovate 200,000 square feet of its 50-year-old S concourse, and New York’s LaGuardia Airport, which is updating its Terminal B facilities as part of a six-year renovation project aimed at meeting surging passenger demand and energy code requirements.