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  1. Project
16 May 2022

Reno-Tahoe International Airport Expansion, Nevada, USA

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport expansion project is expected to be completed by September 2028.
Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority (RTAA) will implement the MoreRNO project to expand Reno-Tahoe International Airport. Credit: Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.
Estimated to involve an investment of more than $550m, the expansion will be implemented in multiple phases. Credit: Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.
The plan was put forth by RTAA to be able to handle the rising passenger numbers in the coming years. Credit: Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority.
Construction of the multi-phase project is expected to be completed in 2028. Credit: Ken Lund / Flickr (Creative Commons)

The Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO) in Reno, Nevada, US, is proposed to be expanded to improve passenger convenience and experience.

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Named MoreRNO, the expansion project will be implemented by the Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority (RTAA) through a multi-year construction programme. RTAA owns and operates the airport.

The new plan, announced in April 2022, aims to modernise the airport in the coming years.

The continued growth of northern Nevada calls for enhancing the airport’s facilities and services. The need to modernise the Reno-Tahoe International Airport is also due to increasing non-stop destinations, airlines, and passenger traffic.

The estimated investment in the airport infrastructure development and modernisation projects between 2022 and 2028 is approximately $1bn.

Construction of the MoreRNO project is expected to begin in September 2022 and is scheduled to be completed in 2028.

MoreRNO project details

MoreRNO will mainly comprise ticketing hall expansion, ground transportation centre, and concourse redevelopment.

Set to begin in 2022, the ticketing hall expansion is estimated to cost between $20m and $30m.

The hall’s expansion will include enhancing passenger wayfinding, queuing and circulation, and amenities. Passengers will also be introduced to touchless travel technology. Restrooms will be built within the ticketing hall to improve passenger convenience.

The ground transportation centre project is estimated to involve an investment of between $175m and $225m, which will be financed through public/private partnership.

Expected to begin in 2023, it aims to enhance customer experience with regards to car rentals at the Reno-Tahoe airport.

The project will also add more public parking facilities near the airport terminal. Rental cars, parking, transportation network companies, cabs, and baggage claim will also be conveniently located.

The concourse redevelopment project will involve an investment of more than $300m and is expected to begin in 2024.

The concourses built in 1980 have become old and need $200m to maintain and undertake modernisation initiatives over the next 20 years.

The proposed redevelopment will deliver savings in terms of maintenance. It will address the need to accommodate larger aircraft and enable airline scheduling and shared kiosks.

In addition, it will meet the needs of growing passenger traffic at the Reno-Tahoe airport, which is estimated to increase by 40% over the next 40 years. The passenger demand is forecast to reach 4.6 million by 2046.

Furthermore, the project will create a larger customs and border protection (CBP) facility within the redeveloped concourses to handle nearly 400 passengers an hour.

The redevelopment will enhance the overall experience for passengers, airlines, airport employees, and tenants. More food and retail options are planned to be introduced to increase the airport’s revenue.

Other developments within the MoreRNO project

The MoreRNO project will add a new terminal entry and exit, along with the remodelling of the terminal mezzanine.

The loop road in front of the RNO terminal will be upgraded. Other facilities that will be added include a public safety centre, a new consolidated car rental facility, and more parking space. The project will also add architecture inspired by the Reno-Tahoe region.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) installed computed tomography (CT) technology at the airport’s security checking area to screen travellers’ luggage in May 2021.

It also implemented credential authentication technology (CAT) to check the validity of a passenger’s photo identification and confirm flight information in near real time.

MoreRNO project financing

The Reno-Tahoe Airport Authority aims to tap into different sources including federal, state, private funding and bonds for the construction of the project.

It plans to secure funding through the Airport Infrastructure Grants (AIG), along with Airport Terminal Program Grants (ATP) under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL).

The concourse design as part of the redevelopment is planned to be financed using funds secured under the AIG priority programme.

Reno-Tahoe Airport details

The Reno-Tahoe airport, which is a gateway to Lake Tahoe and the entire region, is served by 13 passenger airlines and three cargo airlines. It is the 62nd busiest airport in the US. It is located across more than 1,450 acres and has three operational runways.

The airport handled more than two million passengers, a decline of 54.9% compared to 2019. Passenger traffic increased by 80.6% to 3.62 million in 2021, compared to 2020.

The airport’s cargo handling capacity increased by 2.2% to 151.16 million pounds in 2021, compared to 2020.

Contractors involved

Kimley-Horn, a planning and design engineering consultant, received a contract in October 2021 to serve as the design consultant for the reconstruction of the terminal loop road.

A team comprising H+K Architects, HOK, Hyytinen Engineering, PK Electrical, Wood Rodgers, Ainsworth Associates, and OCMI completed a detailed planning study for the ticketing hall expansion in December 2020.

RS&H, a consultant based in the US, was selected to act as the design consultant for the ticketing hall expansion in July 2021.

McCarthy Building Companies and Atkins were engaged as the construction manager at risk (CMAR) and construction manager, respectively, for the pre-construction phase of the ticketing hall expansion project in October 2021.

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