The State of Capital Projects at PHL and PNE

One immediate consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic for airports has been the disruption of active and planned capital projects. With airports facing a significant reduction of travelers, operations, and revenue, some infrastructure plans may become casualties.

Philadelphia International and Northeast Philadelphia Airports’ $2.4 billion Capital Development program has been impacted by COVID-19. While most of the airports’ construction projects were paused at the onset of the pandemic in mid-March, construction on those deemed critical has since resumed

“Somebody wise once said to not let a good crisis go to waste, so we have been using that mindset to be creative and see what we can do when we are advancing our projects… maybe some things that we thought were critical before COVID-19, now we have to put our thinking caps on and say does this really make sense today, in a post-COVID-19 world,” said Api Appulingam, Deputy Director of Aviation, Capital Development, as part of Infraday’s panel ‘The State of U.S. Airport Expansion & Capital Improvement Programs’.

“The way I thought about how to advance some of the projects is like a stop light, green, yellow and red. So green, for me, meant that we had hundred percent funding already available and it was critical and important for the airport to run 24/7. Yellow meant we might have some funding, but we still needed additional funding and it was critical to make sure we continued it, like our Restroom Renovation Program, a high priority for our guests post COVID-19. The projects that fell into the red category were those that we really didn’t have the funding for, or they weren’t critical for us, it was kind of the nice to haves. We haven’t cancelled any of our projects per se, but we have paused many of them.”

Some of the projects deemed critical by Capital Development to continue include:

  • Taxiway J Concrete Pavement Repairs
  • East Airfield Rehabilitation
  • Terminal Core B/C Roof Replacement
  • Terminal C Parking Garage Helix Repair
  • HVAC Improvements
  • Fuel Facility Reconstruction
  • Restroom Renovation Program
  • Replacement or rehabilitation of elevators, escalators and moving walkways
  • PNE Runway 6-24 Rehabilitation

The other panelists were Greg S. Campbell, Chief Airports Development Program, Los Angeles World Airports; Kurt Stanich, Airport Director, Waukesha County; Pat Askew, Global Aviation Practice Director, Principal, HKS; and Paul Priegel, Airport Director, Stillwater Regional Airport.

Infraday is a media production company focused on providing coverage and actionable insight into the global transportation and infrastructure markets through live events.

To watch Api’s participation at the online event, click here.


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Christine Ottow
Director of Strategic Communications
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Heather Redfern
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