Administrators are planning a $70 million project at Will Rogers World Airport to expand the terminal, improve security check-in procedures and add a concourse with three new gates.
Six more gates eventually could be added to the new east concourse, bringing the airport’s total to 26, the city’s airports director, Mark Kranenburg, told the city council on Tuesday.
Existing gates are close to being fully utilized, while the number of passengers boarding at Will Rogers is expected to continue growing, Kranenburg said. Unless it expands, the airport runs the risk that passengers will be increasingly dissatisfied and airlines will be discouraged from serving Oklahoma City, he said.
“We need to move,” Kranenburg said. By starting now, he said, a larger terminal and three new gates could open by 2017.
Besides relieving congestion at security checkpoints, the project would produce benefits including relocation of the Military Welcome Center to the terminal, relocation of police to the ticket-counter level, and expanded office space for airport tenants and administration.
The project would be financed by a combination of grants and loans, with airport revenues and charges on passengers expected to be sufficient to repay the debt over a 30-year period.
Will Rogers is served primarily by United Airlines, which has five gates, and by Delta and Southwest (three each), American (two) and Frontier (one gate). About 12,000 travelers pass through each day.
Flights adding seats
The airlines have been adding seats to departing flights, a contrast to reduced service at like-size airports in cities including Providence, R.I.; Hartford, Conn.; Omaha, Neb.; Reno, Nev., and Tucson, Ariz., according to Kranenburg’s presentation to the council.
US Airways, which is in the process of being combined with American Airlines, is adding two daily flights to Charlotte, N.C., starting July 2. A new airport rental car center is under construction and is expected to open in the spring of 2015.
Plans for the new centralized security checkpoint include eight lanes for passenger screening, replacing the two current three-lane checkpoints. A centralized exit is expected to provide better accommodations for visitors meeting arriving passengers.