Fiscal year 2020 was a historic year for federal and state grants as well as TSA’s Other Transactional Agreements, more than doubling Philadelphia International Airport’s (PHL) previous five-year averages of grants received. The $58.6 million in 2020 grants support a handful of infrastructure projects critical to the safety of passengers and operations both on the airfield and within the terminals. This federal and state funding enables for the reconstruction of PHL and Northeast Philadelphia Airport (PNE) runways and taxiways as well as terminal project security enhancements and sustainability initiatives to reduce fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emissions while improving air quality within the airport system. This funding also has an eye to the future, implementing initiatives to support future cargo expansion.
Taxiway K Reconstruction: One of PHL’s most important east-west taxiways, and key to airfield efficiency during taxiing operations, the taxiway pavement was constructed more than twenty-five years ago. Based on the pavement condition survey findings and due to the increase of aircraft operations, this taxiway requires reconstruction to avoid severe impacts in taxing activity. Package one is underway with package two expected to start in 2022. The combined project cost of $82.4 million is offset by federal and state funding of $55.8 million.
“The reconstruction and rehabilitation of taxiways and runways, as well as the introduction of clean technology, are critical airport infrastructure projects. We are very thankful to the FAA for providing funding for these upgrades at PHL,” said City of Philadelphia Division of Aviation CEO Chellie Cameron.
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PNE Runway 6-24 Rehabilitation: This 7,000-foot-long primary runway rehabilitation project at PNE consists of three phases of full depth reconstruction and associated electrical work. Runway 6-24 has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) funding totaling $19.64 million to date which has offset the multi-phased project cost of $37 million.
“The runway and lighting improvements we are making at Northeast Philadelphia Airport are critical, as PNE serves as a reliever airport for PHL and is an important contributor to our region’s economy,” said Cameron. “The funding we are receiving from the FAA would normally include a requirement of a 10% local share, which would be difficult due to the impact COVID-19 has had on the aviation industry and our finances. We thank the FAA for providing 100 percent funding for this project and allowing us to complete this very necessary work.”
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TSA Recapitalization of CTX Machines: The Checked Baggage Inspection System (CBIS) supporting PHL’s Terminals D and E currently operate with eight older CTX 9400 machines that are often down due to overheating or maintenance issues. This $5.4 million TSA funded project replaces the machines with six newer, more efficient, reliable CTX 9800 explosive detection system machines.
According to Gerardo Spero, TSA’s Federal Security Director at PHL, “The new technology assists us in addressing new and emerging threats, allowing for better detection of those potential items by providing three-dimensional, high resolution X-ray images. It offers us critical explosives detection capabilities at the checkpoint and enhances the TSA officer’s ability in determining whether an item inside a carry-on bag is a possible threat to aviation security.”
“Providing a safe airport environment for travelers and employees is our number one priority. The TSA is a valued partner in this effort, and we are pleased that TSA continues to introduce the latest technologies that make our airport safer and the screening process more efficient,” said Airport COO Keith Brune.
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GSE Charging Station Relocation: One of PHL’s sustainability goals is to reduce fossil fuel use, greenhouse gas emissions and improve air/noise quality around the airport. Installation of these charging stations will support airlines conversion from diesel operated tug-cart fleet to electric. This $1.6 million sustainability effort has an expected completion late of fall 2021 and is offset by $1.034 million in federal funding.
“In addition to the environmental benefits, this project will also benefit the health and safety of airport employees by reducing air pollutants on the airfield ramp and within baggage handling areas where ground support equipment is used daily. The airlines also save on operating costs through reduced fuel use,” said Ray Scheinfeld, Airport Planning and Environmental Services Manager.
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Tinicum Island Road Relocation: Final design is nearing completion for the relocation of approximately one mile of the existing Tinicum Island Road which will allow PHL to integrate recently acquired land into the airport property. Scope includes road construction and wetlands mitigation related to the impacts of this specific project. PHL recently received a $1.4 million PennDOT grant for this construction project anticipated to begin in early 2022.
“This relocation of Tinicum Island Road is a significant milestone for PHL as it allows us to expand our proposed cargo development to the west,” noted Api Appulingam, Deputy Director of Aviation, Capital Improvement.