Airport Renovations Get Scaled Back as Airlines Cut Routes and Passenger Traffic Wanes
Oakland Airport's Southwest terminal during its renovation of 2006.
No surprise here but with the travel industry taking a hard hit this year, airports across the U.S. are having to put their massive renovations plans on hold or in some caese, just settle for just quickie face-lifts.
At Oakland International Airport in California, for example, a $1 billion plan to build a third terminal was shelved last summer after ExpressJet withdrew from the market, Aloha Airlines went out of business and other carriers, especially Southwest Airlines, cut back on flights. Passenger traffic fell by 30 percent, creating a ripple effect at the airport’s restaurants and car rental operations, which also generate cash. Food and beverage revenue dropped by 25 percent; car rental revenue by 20 percent.
Instead of building a new terminal, Oakland is doing a $200 million facelift of an existing terminal.
On the bright side(?), having less passengers allows the construction crews to get their work done faster. A very minor consolation to the airport indeed.
About a dozen other U.S. airports have cancelled or delayed their improvements but Kansas City International Airport is doing something different. The airport is taking advantage of the drop in construction costs to pursue its airport improvement projects which will cost about $161 million. Guess that's what happens when someone calls you a Hot Destination for 2009.
Thank God, JetBlue did their T5 overhaul before the economy crapped out!