The 10 US airports set for billion-dollar expansions

2 Jun 2019 by Jenni Reid
Chicago O'Hare

Anyone who travels into, out of or around the US regularly knows that many of its airports have struggled to cope with the rise in passenger traffic over the last few decades. IATA predicts the country will be the second fastest-growing market until at least 2037.

To cope, a raft of upgrades and expansions are underway across the country, from New York to Salt Lake City. Here are ten of them, including the costs, capacity and completion dates (the planned ones, anyway…)

1. Orlando International Airport

Orlando International

Work has started on a $2.8 billion new South Terminal for Orlando International Airport, which had 47.7 million passengers in 2018. It needs it. When its current terminal building was completed in 1981, it had 6 million passengers.

Expected to open in late 2021, the new three-floor facility will be adjacent to the South Airport APM Complex and Intermodal Terminal Facility, and will have 19 gates.

Orlando expansion

It will also add automated screening lanes at TSA checkpoints, a new energy-efficient baggage claim system and facial recognition technology for international arriving and departing passengers.

It’s expected to increase the airport’s capacity by 11 million passengers annually.


2. John F Kennedy International Airport

In October 2018, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the city’s plan for a $13 billion investment into JFK, 90 per cent of which is being privately funded.

The project will add international terminal complexes on the airport’s north and south sides, increasing capacity by 15 million passengers a year.

Terminal One will occupy the site of the current terminals 1 and 2, and the former Terminal 3. It will span 21,300 sqm with 23 gates, and is targeting a 2025 full opening.


Also set to open in 2025 is Terminal 6, which will be low-cost carrier Jetblue’s new home. It will have 12 gates across 6,800 sqm.


Meanwhile British Airways and American Airlines are spending $344 million over the next four years to refurbish Terminal 8, which they will share.

Cuomo also says JFK will get improved road access and expanded rail links to accommodate its growth.


3. LaGuardia Airport

The $8 billion revamp of oft-grumbled about LaGuardia is already well underway – the airport unveiled its new Terminal B concourse last December. The new additions will replace the current 50-year old facility in phases.

In total, LaGuardia is due to get six new concourses, an additional 250,000 sqm, 72 gates and two new arrival and departure halls. Terminal B will be linked to Terminals C and D with a nearly mile-long hallway.


Other renovations include a new rail service between LaGuardia and midtown Manhattan and 14 miles of new road connecting motorists to the facility.


4. Newark Liberty International Airport

Newark expansion

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has a third big project underway, in what it says is the “largest design-build project in New Jersey’s history.”

The $2.7 billion Terminal One Redevelopment Programme will be located on a new site on airport property and replace the existing Terminal A. It will have 33 gates and expected to open in 2021 and be complete by 2022.


5. O’Hare International Airport

The strained Chicago airport is getting a $8.5 billion investment in order to expand, $2.2 billion of which will be used to rebuild Terminal 2 across 200,000 sqm, adding 75 per cent more space. The space will see international and domestic operations.


Two new satellite concourses will also be built west of Terminal 1.

O’Hare International Airport had 903,747 arriving and departing flights last year, the most of any airport in the US, according to the US Department of Transportation.


6. Pittsburgh International Airport

Pittsburgh expansion

Concept designs for Pittsburgh’s new $1.1 billion terminal were released in February.

The two-storey building will be built adjacent to the current Airside facility between Concourses C and D and is scheduled to open in 2023.

The airport saw more than 9.6 million passengers in 2018, its busiest year since 2007. British Airways launched nonstop flights to London earlier this year.


7. Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport

New Orleans North Terminal Project

The new $1 billion terminal at the New Orleans airport will have 35 gates, quicker security and bag-handling facilities, a 2,100-space car park and – eventually – a new highway ramp.

It is almost ready to launch – but its opening date has been repeatedly pushed back, once due to a sewer line sinking into swampy ground.


8. Kansas City International Airport

Kansas City expansion

Ground broke on the $1.5 billion project to demolish and replace the 1970s vintage terminal at Kansas City International Airport in March.

Kansas airport rendering

The current airport has three U-shaped terminals and has not expanded in decades despite a trebling of passenger traffic.

It will be replaced with a single large terminal, a new parking garage, road network, and tarmac improvements.


9. Salt Lake City International Airport

The airport serves more than 25 million passengers a year, “from facilities that were designed 50 years ago, which were intended to serve half as many travellers,” according to its website.

Construction on the $3.6 billion redesign began in July 2014 and will continue in phases through to 2024.

Salt Lake City expansion

The airport will get a replaced terminal, 15 new gates, two new concourses and a new parking garage.

Salt Lake City expansion

10. Dallas Fort Worth International Airport

It’s early days for this project, which is currently just a joint proposal by American Airlines and the airport to construct a sixth terminal, targeted at a 2025 opening. It would form part of a improvements package that could reach $3.5 billion.

The airport is growing fast, with CEO Sean Donohue saying he expects to reach close to 100 million passengers over the next ten years.


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