City Celebrates Groundbreaking of New Terminal Building
September 13, a ceremonial groundbreaking event was held for a new terminal building at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport. The new terminal, scheduled to open in 2015, is dubbed Air Capital Terminal 3, or ACT 3, reflecting its standing as the third terminal built in Wichita. It will replace the existing Mid-Continent terminal, built in 1954. The new, state- of-the-art facility will feature interior designs that showcase Wichita’s rich aviation history, and will enhance Wichita’s standing as the Air Capital of the World.
Construction will begin in 5-6 weeks, and the building should be fully enclosed by February 2014. A new parking garage will also begin construction in early 2013.
The budget for the entire terminal development program is $160 million; the construction contract for the terminal building itself is $101.5 million. Several enabling projects have already been completed to ready the site for the terminal construction.
No local tax dollars are planned to be used. The airport system is a user-fee based system. The money that pays for capital improvements at airports comes from the federal Aviation Trust Fund. In turn, the money in the Fund comes primarily from a user fee on airline tickets. Thus, it’s a user fee rather than a general tax – only those who use airports pay for them. The new terminal project will be funded with a combination of FAA grants, TSA grants, Passenger Facility Charges, concession, parking and rental car revenue, and lease revenue.
It is estimated that this construction project will create an estimated 1,250 direct jobs, with a peak construction employment of 500 people on-site.
So what will it be like to use our new terminal building? Imagine driving onto the airport, and being awed at the sight of the terminal with its wall of windows and sweeping roof mimicking the shape of an aircraft wing. Your parking choices now include a new parking greeted with the two-story, spacious, and naturally lit great hall. The voluminous space is accented by the large glass and aluminum centerpiece created by internationally renowned artist Ed Carpenter.
The new ticket counters are supplemented with more room and free standing electronic ticketing kiosks. If you are checking bags, you garage or one of the economy or nearby automated surface parking lots. If you are a rental car customer, your parking space will be under cover and your agency rental counter will be right across the street from the terminal. If you are dropped off, the new curbside glass canopy provides protection during inclement weather. Upon entering the terminal, you will be will not need to haul your bags to the TSA baggage screening. The bags now will be dropped on a conveyor belt by the airline ticketing agent to be screened through the TSA in-line explosive detection equipment prior to being delivered to the departing plane.
You will then proceed to the center of the great hall where you will take an elevator or escalator upstairs to the mezzanine. The mezzanine is a convenient area to wait for arriving family and friends while enjoying the detailed displays celebrating Wichita’s History of Aviation. You will then proceed through the ample spaced and modern TSA security screening area. After screening, you will enter the concourse, with a very short walk to the four gates to your right and eight gates to your left. The concourse features more concessions, a business center, a kid’s play area, and abundant seating with dramatically more public electrical outlets and new USB outlets to charge your mobile devices. Each gate is equipped with a passenger loading bridge leading directly to the aircraft.
Upon arrival back to Mid-Continent, you will exit the aircraft through the jetbridge onto the concourse. The concourse exits adjacent to the security checkpoint into the centrally located second floor mezzanine in the terminal great hall. Within the great hall, you will be reminded of the interior shapes of planes when looking at the ceiling.
The terrazzo floors throughout the terminal are designed to emulate aircraft contrails, and will help guide you from ticket counters to security to gates and from gates to the mezzanine to the baggage claim. Finally, you can pick up your bags at one of the three new baggage carousels in the spacious baggage claim area. When you exit the building you may be picked up at the covered curbside, or return to your car in one of the convenient surface parking lots or the new parking garage across the street.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Mayor Carl Brewer said, “The new terminal will be the airline gateway to the State of Kansas. It will serve as a front window into our city and our history. Visitors will know that Wichita gave birth to aircraft manufacturing and that more aircraft have been built here than anywhere in the world.”
The new terminal features modern operational and security enhancements that will improve service for passengers and other airport customers. Learn more about the project at http://www.flywichita.com/new-terminal-info.php.