Beneath the bright and bustling passenger terminals of Philadelphia International Airport sits a hidden complex of roadways and tunnels, each of them traversed by baggage tug vehicles towing thousands of bags each day.
This underground transportation network was constructed in the 1970s and connects airline tug carts to baggage claim basements and conveyors. The maintenance of these tunnels can prove costly, an issue made more difficult by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry’s revenues.
On April 21, the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development announced that it had awarded PHL with a $500,000 grant to begin improvements on the airport’s baggage tug tunnels. The grant will cover a portion of the first of five phases that are planned to improve structural needs, including:
- Structural improvements
- Signage and wayfinding improvements
- Drainage system upgrades
- Ventilation system upgrades
- LED lighting and electrical upgrades
- Fire protection system repairs
“PHL is fortunate to have strong advocates for the airport’s needs in Harrisburg, including State Representative Regina Young and Senator Nikil Saval,” said PHL CEO Chellie Cameron. “This grant will enable PHL to modernize its behind-the-scenes baggage infrastructure, while enhancing safety for hundreds of employees.”
The airport will continue to pursue funding resources as each phase of the project continues. The current grant was awarded through the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development Multimodal Transportation Fund.