Airport Prepares Final Stages of Construction for May Opening
Construction of Wichita’s new airport terminal at Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport, along with the accompanying parking garage and attached rental car building, is in its final stages and is set for commercial flights to begin next month.
last time Wichita celebrated the opening of a new airport terminal was in 1954.
“The opening of Wichita's all-new, contemporary airport terminal will mark a
special day in Wichita’s history,” said Carl Brewer, Wichita Mayor.
from updated décor and furniture to an expanded TSA area, additional food and
beverage options, and modernized gate seating, offering hundreds of outlets and
USB ports for charging mobile devices, is being completed and will soon be
ready for travelers to enjoy.
to be a reflection of Wichita’s aviation prominence, the all-new Wichita Dwight
D. Eisenhower National Airport is a state-of-the-art air terminal spanning two
levels, 12 gates and 275,000 total square feet.
terminal, parking garage and rental car facilities are designed to serve two
million travelers every year with a world-class flight experience to and from
the Air Capital,” said Victor White, airport director. “With five airlines
making 72 flights daily, it’s not just Kansas’ largest airport – it’s the
Midwest’s newest access point to the rest of the world.”
said there are a number of features to make traveling easier. “The building is
not only attractive and modern, but it is designed with passenger flow and
comforts in mind.”
baggage claim areas, baggage service offices, and an Aviator’s Cafe with bar
service and retail shops are located on the first floor. An in-line baggage
system has been added to take outbound bags through screening before the bags
are loaded onto the airplanes. It’s an automated process not currently in place
inside the existing terminal.
a mezzanine area will give visitors a place to greet passengers when they
arrive and feature tall panels depicting Wichita’s aviation history. It’s here
that travelers will move through a large security area and go on to their
upstairs will be three retail stores, including two CNBC stores, a Grab &
Fly food and wine bar, a Dunkin’ Donuts, and a Chik-fil-A, along with the River
City Brewing Co. and an Air Capital Bar overlooking the airfield.
convenience is the shortened distance from check-in to gating. “Compared to the
old terminal, the distance between
ticketing and the terminal gates has been reduced by 40 to 60 percent, allowing
a more organized flow of traffic,” said White.
addition of a parking garage is a significant benefit for travelers,” said White.
Covered crosswalks take travelers to and from the new four-level parking
garage, offering amenities like electric charging stations for electric
vehicles and 1,600 marked stalls – 70 percent more parking options than the old
terminal. “We have received many requests over the years, and now there will be
covered parking for the first time at the airport.”
Rental cars will be in
covered parking as well. Together, it’s a $200 million project, including $160
million for the terminal and $40 million for the parking garage. Funding is
from revenue generated on the airport, and user fees paid by those who use the
aviation system. The parking structure will open at the same time as the new
entering, travelers will notice the design embedded in the terrazzo to capture
the feeling of an airplane’s contrails. It’s a part of the terminal’s aviation
theme, with its curvilinear roof and other features that evoke the motion of
flight and the city’s aviation history. The stripping in the floor will subtly
guide travelers to the ticket counters on the right of the entrance or the
baggage claim area on the left.
different from the old terminal is the vast amount of natural lighting and the
“Great Wall” – an expansive 40-foot wall that runs along the passenger
ticketing and baggage claim areas. “It’s an incredible space to walk into,”
said White. “The high ceilings and abundance of light create an open, lively
atmosphere. In addition, the glass and skylights are all built with safety
features that keep Kansas’ climate and weather in mind,” said White.
new terminal’s 12 jetways are also all glass - the largest installation of
glass-walled jetways in the United States.
Air Capital Art
of the final details to take shape is the installation of history pieces,
designed by Greteman Group, that tell the stories of Wichita as the Air Capital
of the World, which will appear on large panels and as public art pieces.
Carpenter, a Portland, Ore., artist, created a 330-foot-long piece that stretches
over the airport’s mezzanine from ticketing to baggage claim and is intended to
mimic the feeling of flight. The piece is made from dichroic safety glass,
stainless steel cables and turnbuckles, and cellular polycarbonate and will
change colors in different lights.
new terminal is truly a marvel of modern architecture right here in the
Heartland and a point of pride for our city that makes travel to and from the
Air Capital even better for inbound and outbound travelers,” said White. “It will
create a first and final impression that, we hope, stays with visitors long
after their journey is complete.”
Construction began Oct. 9, 2012, and the first commercial flights from the new terminal are expected to begin
in late May 2015.