For this decade, the Airport has
been committed to focusing on projects designed to improve the customer
experience, lay the groundwork for future development and capitalize on the
role that the Airport plays as a regional economic engine. PHL also has a keen
interest in welcoming new carriers and routes, giving passengers more choices
and destinations in their travels either originating from Philadelphia or
connecting through PHL.
A $45 million Terminal E expansion
opened in 2010, featuring seven new aircraft gates, a 500-seat waiting area, a
mini-food court, a high bay ceiling filtering in natural lighting and new
permanent artwork. Also in 2010, the D/E baggage claim project opened, complete
with two new carousels and new restroom facilities.
In 2011, the Federal Aviation
Administration (FAA) issued a Record of Decision (ROD) approving the Airport’s
Capacity Enhancement Program (CEP), a multi-billion program with the purpose of
enhancing airfield capacity to address delays at the Airport. At that time, the
Airport had been long identified by the FAA as one of the airports contributing
to delays throughout the National Airspace System (NAS). The CEP was based on
the Airport’s Master Plan and included projects addressing runway length,
airfield geometry, runway capacity, in addition to expansion and
reconfiguration of the existing terminal complex.
Also in 2011, the FAA awarded a
$466.5 million Letter of Intent (LOI) to provide some funding for airfield
elements of the CEP. From 2007 through
2017, improvements to air traffic control were implemented by FAA, and some
airfield improvements were completed by the Airport. These improvements, in
conjunction with a decrease in operational activity during this same period
(due in part to airline changes to their aircraft fleets and increase to
average seats per operation), resulted in reduced aircraft movements and a
reduction in delays at the Airport. As a
result, the Airport and Airlines priorities shifted from airfield capacity and
delay projects, such as a new runway, and focused instead on the terminal, gate
capacity, landside, and cargo development.
Additionally, airfield improvement priorities were reassessed by the
Airlines, Airport and the FAA.
In 2017, the Airport and the FAA
agreed to close the LOI, which resulted in the suspension of FAA’s Record of
Decision and a formal closure notice posted by FAA in the Federal Register in
October 2017. This closure allows the
Airport to focus FAA Entitlement and future Discretionary Grant funding for
other airfield improvements rather than projects associated with the new
runway. The Airport Master Plan, which includes the new runway project, is
still valid and the Airport intends to preserve the ability to construct the
new runway and other projects when operational needs warrant it.
The shift in capital priorities
to terminal, landside, and cargo development along with reprioritized airfield
improvements, has resulted in the Airport implementing a revised capital plan
that incorporates elements identified in the Master Plan in addition to
near-term capital facility needs, including on-going rehabilitation and repair
improvements have continued throughout the 2010’s. In 2013, the newly
F Hub opened featuring 20 new food, beverage and retail shops, a 300-seat
food court area, fascinating new permanent artwork and an enhanced bus shelter.
In 2015, the E-F Secure Connector opened, enabling passengers to access all terminals and gates from the post-Security
side. And in 2016, the new Terminal F Baggage
Claim Building opened, completing the $127 million Terminal F renovation and
expansion project; the $35 million baggage claim facility is the first LEED
Gold project at the airport.
PHL continues to evaluate its
capacity needs in a changing economic climate. In 2017, PHL and hub carrier American
a $900 million commitment to continue critical improvements and develop new
infrastructure at PHL Airport and Philadelphia Northeast Airport (PNE) over the
next 5-to-7 years. This Capital Development Project (CDP) promises to deliver
needed improvements to the facility and represents a unique growth opportunity
for Philadelphia’s businesses and workforce. The on-going projects will
generate almost $4 billion in regional economic output over a 5-year period,
which equates to approximately 5,100 on-going jobs over the same 5-year period.
Other highlights include the 2011
dedication of the How Philly
Moves mural by the Airport and the City’s Mural Arts Program. The mural,
which is among the largest completed 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
PHL continues to welcome new
carriers and routes to its service. In 2012, Virgin America began serving PHL
with daily nonstop flights to the West Coast. Virgin was the first new airline
to start service at PHL in eight years. Over the next six years, additional
airlines began serving PHL with daily and seasonal flights, including Alaska
Airlines, Frontier, Spirit Airlines, and JetBlue. In 2014, Qatar Airways became
foreign flag carrier in more than a decade to begin service when it
launched daily non-stop service to Doha. Icelandair
launched seasonal service in May 2017, and Aer
Lingus will begin non-stop flights to Dublin in March 2018.
As of December 2017, PHL offers 122 non-stop
flights to 89 domestic and 33 international destinations.
When it first opened in 1940, Philadelphia
Municipal Airport transported more than 40,000 passengers. Today, PHL has grown
exponentially, serving 30 million passengers annually from the Philadelphia
region and beyond. A combination of airline mergers (most notably, between
American Airlines and US Airways) and the aviation industry's modernization
trend of using larger aircraft has shifted traffic at PHL; current operations
stand at 394,022 takeoffs and landings.
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