Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) in the US is set to open the first six commercial gates of the new Terminal B concourse on 15 July 2009, on an interim basis.

The entire project including 12 new gates is a part of the airport’s comprehensive $1.3bn modernisation programme.

The six gates will cater to the passengers of Southwest Airlines.

Passengers will, however, continue to check in and claim baggage at the current terminal until all of Southwest’s operations including ticketing, security checks and baggage systems are shifted permanently to Terminal B in June 2010.

Construction of the 380,000f²t concourse, estimated at $342m, began in 2004 under the airport’s overall terminal area improvement programme, which aims to have 12 commercial aircraft gates.

The concourse was designed by Gensler and supported by San Jose-based Steinberg Architects, while Gilbane Building Company was the construction manager.

The airport’s Terminal B was designed by a Denver-based architectural, interiors and planning firm Fentress Architects and the design / build contract is being executed by Hensel Phelps Construction.

Both the buildings expect to receive LEED sustainability certification from the US Green Building council upon their completion.

The new terminal will be equipped with an automated state-of-the-art baggage sorting system and an explosive detection system.

The passenger amenities at the new terminal and its concourse include comfortable waiting lounges, free Wi-Fi and ample power outlets for laptops, and new shops and restaurants.