Cities invest billions in airport upgrades

Massive projects in US are underway or due to start

Passengers visiting a renovated boarding area in San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 3, which reopens this week, will find some curious additions.

Pop-up shops, nursing rooms, private changing rooms, circadian lighting, the airport’s second yoga studio, Fritz Hansen “egg” chairs, swivel-lounge seating and a play area for children with interactive art are among the features.

The $138 million makeover is part of a trend in which cities are investing billions in airport expansions and innovative upgrades. This week’s opening in San Francisco is part of a $4.2 billion capital improvement plan that began in 2011 and will finish by summer 2015.

As the industry emerges from the recession, a number of projects previously put on hold are restarting.

Massive projects are either underway or being prepared at Denver International Airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, Los Angeles International Airport, New York’s Kennedy International Airport and LaGuardia Airport, Orlando International Airport and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

“Tired, dated terminals are gradually disappearing and going the way of the Dodo bird,” says Mary Kirby, founder and editor of the Runway Girl Network. “In their place, passengers will increasingly find bright, sparkling new facilities bursting with concessions and, of course, an ample amount of retailers.”

She adds: “Airports and airlines are keenly aware that passengers are mobile, vocal and social, and it’s imperative that the ‘passenger experience’ be considered in all terminal projects going forward.”

[pictured: Hold room in renovated Terminal 3, SFO Airport; courtesy Gensler global design]


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