The early 2000’s saw significant developments and upgrades to the footprint of the Philadelphia International Airport. The opening of two new terminals nearly doubled the size of the Airport complex from 1.4 million to 2.4 million square feet. Unprecedented demand for air travel, spurred by low-fare competition, in this decade steadily increased passenger traffic to 30.7 million in 2009.
In 2001, the Airport ushered in a new era of regional airline service with the opening of Terminal F. The $100 million, 185,000 square-foot terminal offers 3 concourses and 38 gates for regional aircraft, and was designed to accommodate 6 million passengers a year with a host of modern amenities. Terminal F was one of the first facilities in the country to use special jet bridges allowing passengers to transition directly from the terminal to commuter aircraft. The project also included construction of a new ramp control tower and a 3,400-space parking garage.
In 2002, PHL opened a $17 million, 11-story ramp control tower. Situated between Terminals A-East and B, the 7,000 square foot tower features positions for 21 airline ramp controllers, office space and a center to manage airfield operations. Extending 207 feet above the ground, the tower offers improved sightlines and modern technology to enhance the flow of aircraft movement.
A $20 million expansion of Concourse D and the Terminal D baggage claim was completed in 2003, which included the addition of four new gates, an expanded baggage claim facility, and new concession space.
Also in 2003, PHL celebrated the opening of its new International Terminal A-West. The $550 million, 800,000 square foot terminal is spread over four levels connected to Terminal A-East. Combined with A-East, the complex accommodates nearly 4 million international passengers annually. It features 13 international boarding gates, more than 50 Bureau of Customs and Immigration inspection positions, 8 high-speed baggage carousels, 60 ticket counter positions, and a uniquely designed Arrivals Hall dominated by an atrium and stunning artwork conveying Philadelphia's identity as America's birthplace.
PHL added several state-of-the art facilities, including a $53 million deicing facility located on 35 acres at the western border of the Airport and a high-tech Aircraft Fire Fighting Training Center, located on the southern boundary of the Airport.
In 2008, an all-new Terminal D/E Connector opened, featuring a combined 14-lane security checkpoint equipped with state-of-the-art X-ray screening technology, a dozen new food/beverage and retail shops, and permanent artwork.
In 2009, the $70 million Runway 17-35 project was dedicated, which extended the north-south runway by 1,040 feet to 6,540 feet. The added surface will enable larger jets that account for 75 percent of aircraft operations at PHL to use the runway, thereby alleviating congestion and delays on the Airport's two major runways.
During this decade, PHL broke into the global top 10 busiest airport rankings with 535,666 aircraft operations in 2009.