The beginning of the 21st Century has produced many significant developments in the history of Philadelphia International Airport. Since 2001, the opening of 2 new terminals and other terminal expansion has more than doubled the size of the Airport terminal complex from 1.4 million to 3.1 million square feet and expanded the number of boarding gates by 94% from 65 to 126. Demand for air travel, spurred by low-fare competition, has increased passenger traffic from 24.9 million in 2000 to 30.2 million in 2012.
The $45 million Terminal E
Expansion opened in February 2010. The Expansion features seven new aircraft
gates, a 500-seat waiting area, a mini-food court with 3 new concessions, a
high bay ceiling filtering in natural lighting and new permanent artwork. The
new 9,000 square foot D/E baggage claim with 2 new carousels and new men’s and
women’s restrooms also opened in February 2010.
A 10-year planning process
and a thorough 7-year environmental review process culminated in January 2011
with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issuing the Record of Decision
(ROD) approving the Airport's Capacity Enhancement Program (CEP). Receipt of
this final document enables the Airport to proceed with the next steps required
to expand and make critically needed improvements that ensures Philadelphia
International Airport is strategically positioned to meet future air service
demands, enhance its competitive stature in the global aviation market place
and maintain the region's economic vitality. The preferred alternative as
selected by the FAA, "Alternative A," provides for a new runway,
which will allow independent simultaneous aircraft operations in all weather
conditions, to significantly reduce delays. The CEP also calls for two (2)
runway extensions, one of which will provide the necessary runway length to
accommodate non-stop, long haul flights to reach around the world. New
terminals, new cargo facilities and an automated people move system are also
included in this alternative.
In October 2011, the Airport
and the City’s Mural Arts Program officially dedicated the How Philly Moves
mural. The mural, which is among the largest created in the United States and
occupies the largest square footage of any project completed by the City’s
Mural Arts Program, celebrates Philadelphia’s longstanding dance traditions
with images 26 dancers representing a variety of dance styles on the façade of
the Airport’s parking garages.
In April 2012, Virgin
America began serving PHL with daily nonstop flights to the West Coast. Virgin,
an award-winning airline noted for its innovative customer service, was the
first new airline to start service at PHL in eight years.
In June 2012, Alaska
Airlines began serving PHL with daily nonstop flights to its hub in Seattle.
Recipient of numerous industry awards for customer service, Alaska was the
second new airline to start service at PHL in 2012.
While Philadelphia Municipal
Airport transported more than 40,000 passengers in 1940, Philadelphia
International Airport now serves 30.2 million passengers annually.
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