Big changes underway at OKC's airport
Whether you are just picking up friends or family or you're flying to one of the 28 non-stop destinations served from Will Rogers World Airport, you can’t miss the fact that big changes are under way.
The past two years have seen record levels of passenger traffic and that means more flights. More flights means more airplanes and that translates to a need for more gates. More visitors - the parents, the grandparents, the kids and aviation enthusiasts of all ages who are either meeting or dropping off passengers or are just captivated by the fantasy of flight – are another byproduct of increased passenger traffic.
Expected to cost $89 million and funded 76 percent by passenger facility charges with the rest through airport bonds, the expansion will include new facilities such as ticket counters, baggage claim areas, and other passenger facilities, including lobbies, a military welcome center and additional concessions. It will also feature a public observation gallery, more shopping and dining facilities, space for future international air service and other high-tech facilities.
The new concourse will provide a variety of seating options and passenger amenities. The expanded shopping and dining facilities will allow passengers to relax while waiting for their departure. There will be two new locations for food and beverage. While the specific makeup of concessionaires is yet to be determined, the new program will be a mix of venues that reflects the culinary vibrancy of Oklahoma City along with the need for quick, easy food selections.
The project also includes interior enhancements to the existing facilities, including expanded greeting areas and additional seating in the baggage claim area.
A new larger, consolidated security checkpoint with more pre-security and post-security spaces will be installed in accordance with the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) guidelines. It will provide a streamlined process and easy access, significantly reducing check-in time and allowing passengers to more quickly get to their gates.
The new public observation gallery on a suspended viewing deck at the heart of the terminal will provide views of the concourses and the airfield to the public. It will feature lounge space and exhibits, as well as providing one-of-a-kind views.
The last project, completed in 2006, focused on aesthetic improvements and updating the 60’s-era terminal building. However, that expansion only netted one new airline gate and the security checkpoint was designed pre-TSA. This expansion focuses on the need for additional airline capacity, a streamlined security checkpoint, improved public circulation space and enhancing the overall customer experience.
Designed to TSA standards, the new check point will streamline the passenger screening process and improve wait times. It allows TSA to accommodate dedicated lanes for specific groups such as people with disabilities, TSA PreCheck, or family-only lanes.
“Will Rogers plays such a critical role in our city and its economic growth,” said Oklahoma City Mayor David Holt in a press release. “Physically, it’s the first impression for most job creators and visitors, and the level of air service it provides has a direct correlation to our city’s level of economic opportunity across virtually all business sectors. This project will have a major positive effect on all the things that make our airport successful, and therefore it will have a major positive effect on our city’s economy.”
The anticipated opening date for the new concourse and town square is January 2021, with the remaining portion completed 3rd quarter of 2021.