Photo:Passenger traffic increased 16% last year at Jacksonville International Airport.
Jacksonville International Airport plans third concourse to handle growth
Last year, Jacksonville International Airport added Spirit Airlines to its roster. Meanwhile, Allegiant, Frontier and Southwest began offering 10 new destinations, including Las Vegas and San Antonio. The seats filled up as fast as they were added, with JIA’s passenger count rising 16% in 2018, from 5.5 million in 2017 to 6.4 million.
Airport chief Mark VanLoh attributes the growth to a strong regional economy. “Jacksonville is a business destination. Travelers are coming not just for spring break, but every month of the year, and that’s what the airlines want to see,” says VanLoh, who recently succeeded the retired Steve Grossman as CEO at the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.
To alleviate congestion, JIA now is seeking design bids for a third concourse. Plans call for adding six gates to the existing 20 and adding space for new shops and restaurants.
The airport will use a combination of cash, state and federal grants and local borrowing from commercial lenders to pay for the project, estimated to cost between $150 million and $200 million and be completed by late 2022.
“We simply don’t have enough gate space for the airlines, especially at night,” says VanLoh. “We’ve got anywhere from eight to 12 aircraft that are sitting away from the terminal because there are no more gates, so they’re parked out on the apron all night long,” he says. “It’s becoming a little bit of a parking lot out there.”
Read more in the May issue.
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