Gerald R Ford International Airport (GFIA) will undergo a major expansion in order to accommodate increasing passenger traffic over the next 20 years.

The expansion project is designed to enhance the passenger experience by providing world-class facilities at GFIA, which is the second busiest airport in Michigan US.

Construction of the project is expected to commence in mid-2020 and scheduled for completion in 2022.

Operated by Gerald R Ford International Airport Authority (GFIAA), the airport witnessed the movement of more than 3.26 million passengers and 91 million pounds of cargo in 2018.

The expansion will allow the airport to serve more airlines and accept more daily flights.

GFIA expansion details

Referred to as Project Elevate, the Gerald R Ford International Airport expansion is being executed in three stages.

The expansion will commence with the $90m concourse A expansion, which will include the addition of eight new gates and amenities to the concourse. The width of the concourse will be increased from 66ft to 120ft, while its length will be increased by 510ft to a total of 900ft.

The terminal apron is being extended in order to accommodate the expanded concourse.

The concourse expansion will create more than 125 jobs during construction and approximately 300 permanent jobs during operations.

The second stage of the Project Elevate will add a $24m federal inspection station (FIS), which will serve international passenger flights. Situated towards the east side of the terminal, the FIS will feature screening equipment, security, and holding cells. The project will also involve improvements to the kerbside and a baggage claim device.

The third stage will include the relocation of the existing air traffic control tower to the east side of the airfield. It will also witness various terminal-area developments such as additional tenant hangars and parking spaces.

Financing

The airport received $14.4m in federal and state grants from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Michigan Department of Transportation. It secured $5m grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the initial works on kerbside improvements required for the FIS.

“Referred to as Project Elevate, the Gerald R Ford International Airport expansion is being executed in three stages.”

The project will also be financed by a combination of municipal bonds issued by the airport and user fees.

The GFIAA plans to invest more than $400m in the infrastructure projects at the airport by 2030.

GFIA’s apron reconstruction details

The Gerald R Ford airport began the $30m apron reconstruction project in March 2018. Scheduled to be completed by 2020 in seven phases, the apron reconstruction will provide the required space to accommodate gates for additional aircraft.

It will mainly involve the replacement of the existing apron with 128,000m² of new concrete pavement. New LED lighting will be installed and the stormwater drains and underground utilities will be upgraded to support future development.

Other developments at Gerald R Ford airport

The Gerald R Ford airport is currently undergoing a $47m gateway transformation project, which is aimed at providing a contemporary passenger experience. More than $17m was raised from the West Michigan business and philanthropic communities to fund the terminal makeover.

The gateway transformation project was launched in 2014. The first phase of the project commenced in December 2015 and was completed in September 2017. It involved the construction of a consolidated security checkpoint with centralised and combined security screening, a new retail and concession space, restrooms and nursing rooms, business centres, and the new President Gerald R Ford Tribute room in the Grand Hall.

The second phase of the transformation project is currently in progress and is expected to be completed in mid-2020. It includes the relocation of the TSA screening equipment, improvements to the baggage claim carousels space, and addition of new food and beverage outlets, and restrooms near baggage claim area.