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  1. Project
22 April 2007

Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, Terminal Building Expansion, Gulfport, Mississippi

Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport has almost completed a five-year expansion program which has affected the termina
A rendering of the new cargo facility.
Gulfport-Biloxi airport from the air.
The position of Gulfport-Biloxi airport.
Hurricane Katrina storm caused delays in the expansion.
The hurricane held up work on the terminal expansion but the remedial work to the airport and expansion were then able to proceed side by side.
There was minor damage to the aircraft control tower, which required immediate work and for which an FAA grant was forthcoming.

Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport has almost completed a five-year expansion program which has affected the terminal building, the runways and the taxiway areas. The project is due to be completed by mid-2007.

The project was held up by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, which put the work schedule behind by two months and also required some remedial work to repair damage to the airport infrastructure, but finally everything is nearly completed.

The $51m terminal expansion project was going on alongside nearly $70m-worth of hurricane-related repair work ($68m in Federal grants were given to the airport for remedial work after the hurricane through the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Programme). As a result of Hurricane Katrina, the airport’s passenger numbers were down by 11%.

Airport managers estimate the investment for the completed set of expansion projects to come to $248m. The airport has undergone three expansions since 1987, the most recent in 1997. The airport is administered by the Gulfport-Biloxi Regional Airport Authority (GBRAA).

IMPROVEMENTS

Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport improvements include two new gates (to make a total of six) of which the two new gates have now been opened to accommodate the expected increase in passengers flying into and out of the area. The airport expects to play host to over one million passengers in 2007.

The airport will also have a new baggage claim area which is still being completed (this will have aqua-coloured sea relief tiles decorating the wall above the two new carousels). In addition, the airport has an entirely new security checkpoint area that can handle twice the volume of the previous security setup. The design has improved the passenger throughput and the queues have been much reduced since its introduction. The remaining new gates and expanded baggage claim, lobby and ticket areas will be complete by July.

“Airport officials say that Gulfport-Biloxi Airport’s new terminal will be more resistant to hurricanes.”

The terminal renovation is one of 19 improvements the airport authority has undertaken as part of a complete expansion, which will double passenger capacity to 2.2 million a year (the 2.2 million mark is expected to be exceeded in ten years).

Other projects include a rental car service area (five car rental counters), a new parking deck and cargo building, road access improvement and space for two new airlines. Taxiways will also be widened and expanded.

The terminal floor space is increasing from 92,000ft² to 165,000ft². Airport officials say the new terminal will also be more resistant to hurricanes. The airport authority is already planning for the next expansion because of their belief in the expansion of airline traffic to the Gulf coast.

CONSTRUCTION CONTRACTORS

The $14m multi-level parking structure project at the airport involved the design and build of 300 surface parking spaces and a three-level concrete parking structure to accommodate 800 cars, which will be connected to the terminal by using a covered walkway.

The design and build project was carried out by 2CMD Inc. in conjunction with Republic Parking Systems (who hold a 32-year lease to operate the car park). The car rental facility construction project was awarded to J Levens Builders for $5.86m.

The Philadelphia office of Yates Construction is the contractor working on the $25.1m contract to add a new baggage-handling area and renovate the interior of the terminal. WD Schock is handling associated noise compatibility program work around the airport (including noise insulation). Mceer carried out a survey and reconnaissance of the airport following the Hurricane Katrina storm.

FINANCE

The expansion project is costing a total of $51m. Federal funding will provide $13m with the remaining $37.5m provided by a revenue bond issue. The airport will repay the bond issue through government authorised ‘Passenger Facility Charge’ (PFC), which is $4.50 charge on each ticket.

The expansion project will be complete in the summer of 2007, a little later than scheduled, and will bring approximately 50 additional jobs to the airport.

“The project was held up by the Hurricane Katrina disaster, which put the work schedule behind by two months.”

NEW CARGO FACILITY

A 40,000ft² cargo facility will be completed by the end of 2007 and will include 20,000ft² of chiller space, 20,000ft² of cargo sorting and distribution space, and 6,000ft² of office space.

Airside access from the runway system has been designed with safety and efficiency in mind. The ramp will facilitate and serve two MD11s or DC10s or one B747.

The area is also potentially expandable in the future with 120ac reserved for air cargo or airport. In addition to the new cargo facility, a temporary facility opened in December 2006 accepting belly hold cargo and relieving some of the traffic in the terminal.

EXPLOSIVES DETECTION

Gulfport-Biloxi became one of the first airports to introduce a new explosives detection system into its security system in early 2005. The REVEAL CT-80 EDS units use Computed Tomography (CT) technology.

The CT-80 is expected to replace the current generation of explosives detection systems because of its accuracy and ease of use. It provides advanced image resolution and the smallest footprint in size of any certified EDS device. Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport will be one of three airports in the US to pilot the next generation of baggage screening technology. The airport will pilot the REVEAL CT-80 Explosive Detection System (EDS).

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