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
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).
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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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