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Charleston International Airport expands capacity 20% with 2 new gates

Jenny Peterson
  • Jenny Peterson
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The Charleston International Airport boosted gate capacity and  became one of the few airports in the country to have a glass-walled walkway. (Photo/Jenny Peterson)The Charleston International Airport last week celebrated the opening of two new gates, A6 and A7, with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

The overall $11.5 million gate expansion — which includes a third gate, A2A, that opened in July — increases the airport’s total gate capacity by 20%.

The Charleston International Airport is expected to handle 5.1 million passengers this year — one of the largest passenger numbers the airport has seen, said J. Elliott Summey, executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority.

All three gates will support expanded flight schedules departing and arriving at the Charleston International Airport from all airlines. They’re “common use” gates, meaning all airlines will be able to use the gates to help with flight turnaround times.

Reanna Coggins, with J.E. Dunn Construction Co., said the project took approximately 10,000 worker hours and 400,000 pounds of concrete to support the gate bridges.

“These glass walkways are the only glass walkways in the state of South Carolina. Less than 5% of walkways in the United States are made of glass, so Charleston is definitely ahead of the game in terms of design,” Coggins said. “There was a lot of coordination and teamwork involved to make this project a success.”

The project came in under schedule and under budget, with airport authorities giving credit to partnerships and knowledgeable contractors, including architect LS3P and JP Dunn and AERO Bridgeworks, a division of AERO Systems Engineering.

The original budget was $18 million. Summey noted that the gate expansion was done in record time — less than a year from inception to completion.

“For most airports around the state and the country, this would have taken years to do, (but) through the support of our board and our wonderful staff and consultants at LS3P and J.E. Dunn and others, we started this project in March. Today, we are cutting the ribbon,” Summey said.

To help with congestion with increased passenger numbers, the airport will add an additional 299 seats in Concourse A for passengers and will reconfigure existing seats, Summey said. An additional 250 seats are planned for Concourse B.  

“We’re going to grow with the goal to make this the best, most efficient and continue to be the largest airport in South Carolina,” Summney said. “These are good-looking gates; it’s not what we’re used to seeing here and I’d like to thank LS3P for thinking outside the box.”

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