Construction of airport on track for spring 2015 opening

08/05/2014 7:24 AM

08/08/2014 10:26 AM

Construction of Wichita’s new airport terminal is now three-fourths complete, and the building remains on track for a spring 2015 opening, airport officials say.

Construction began Oct. 9, 2012. Officials are aiming to finish the terminal by March 31, 2015.

Put another way, the terminal will open in less than 240 days, Jim Armour, the terminal’s resident engineer told board members of the Wichita Airport Authority at the authority’s monthly meeting Monday.

The parking garage and attached rental car building will open in the spring, just ahead of the terminal’s opening.

With the opening, the airport’s name will change from Wichita Mid-Continent Airport to the Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport.

Installation of a covered pedestrian canopy connecting the new terminal to the rental car facility and parking garage will begin this month, Armour told members.

One of the next major steps is to complete installation of the windows, seal up the building and start the building’s heating, ventilation and air conditioning system, he said.

That will happen soon.

Its emergency generator is installed and will be big enough to run 3,000 houses.

“It will certainly run the airport if the need arises,” Armour said.

Installation of the baggage handling equipment should be completed in early September.

And decisions about the look of ads inside the terminal are being made.

The airport receives more than $500,000 in revenue a year from ads, said the Wichita Airport Authority director of airports Victor White. It’s important that continue.

Clear Channel Airports is handling the advertising inside the terminal and adjacent to it, White said. It’s choosing the ads’ location, style and media.

Then Clear Channel will talk with existing and new advertisers about placing advertising inside the terminal.

The style of advertising has changed throughout airports around the country over the years, he said.

And many of the terminal’s walls are made of glass, which means less wall space.

So more electronic and digital type displays likely will be used, White said.

In addition, the airport is currently accepting proposals for a retail operator and plans to make a selection by the end of the month or early September.

“We’ll know pretty soon who it will be,” White said.

One formal proposal is in hand. A second is expected in the next week or two.

Installation of bridges, or jetways, will begin in November on nine of 12 gates.

The last three won’t be operational until the new terminal opens and the current terminal is razed, White said.

When the new terminal opens, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Southwest will each lease two gates. Allegiant Airlines will lease one.

The extra three gates will give existing airlines more flexibility of arrival and departure times. They also will give the airport room to grow, White said.

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