The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is to award nearly $1bn from President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law to 99 airports across the United States. 

The funding helps meet the growing demand for air travel and invests in key areas to help get travellers in and out of airports more quickly and improve the passenger experience by investing in new baggage systems, larger security checkpoints and improved ground transportation. Other projects increase terminal sustainability and improve accessibility for travellers with disabilities. Several grants will address the needs of ageing air traffic control towers. The investments will go to airports in 47 states and two territories, the FAA announced.

This latest batch of funding is from the Airport Terminal Program, one of three aviation programmes created by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The law provides $1bn annually for five years for Airport Terminal Program grants. In total, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provided $25bn to modernise the US’s airport infrastructure. These awards are on top of the $1bn funding for work on terminals announced for 85 airports last year. The vast majority of those projects are under construction. 

Many grants contain an element that will build new or expanded terminal facilities. Among these are $10.8m for the replacement of the 1948 terminal at Des Moines International Airport and $29m towards Phase 4 of the new Salt Lake City International Airport.

Other grants contain an element that will make passenger check-in more efficient by improving security-screening areas. These include $10m to Sarasota Bradenton International Airport in Florida for the addition of new passenger security screening checkpoint lanes, five gates and a new energy-efficient central energy plant. Georgia’s Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport will receive $6.5m for a security screening checkpoint expansion project.

Funding of $50m for O’Hare International Airport will help the Chicago hub rehabilitate and expand passenger access to its 60-year-old Terminal 3, with a reconfigured Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint, improvements to the central passenger corridor, new Americans with Disability Act (ADA) compliant and family restrooms, and updates to the passenger baggage system.

Many grants contain an element that will improve passenger experience, including more reliable and faster baggage systems. Airports to benefit include Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Lawton-Fort Sill Regional Airport in Oklahoma, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and Bradley International Airport in Winsor Locks, Connecticut.

Six grants were awarded for the refurbishment of air traffic control towers. The recipients included Chennault International Airport in Louisiana, Rosecrans Memorial Airport in Missouri, and New York’s Albany International Airport.

Improved sustainability
Several grants will be used to help increase terminal sustainability. Portland International Airport received $6m, which will enable it to convert the heating system at the terminal from boilers using fossil fuels to an electric-powered heat pump. A $15m grant will fund part of the Terminal Energy Optimization Program at Philadelphia International Airport, which is replacing and upgrading pre-condition air (PCA) units and ground power units (GPUs) at 25 gates.

Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) will receive $35m, which will fund the second phase of the installation of its Zero Carbon Electric Central Utility Plant (eCUP), which will be powered 100% by renewable energy. The eCUP will position DFW to achieve its target of net-zero carbon emissions by 2030, providing the airport with uninterrupted, redundant service. The grant also funds a portion of the Terminal D Energy Efficiency Enhancement programme that replaces ageing infrastructure with modern systems to significantly improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions. This project includes the replacement of the ageing HVAC systems, installation of dimmable smart glass in terminal windows, and eco-friendly roof replacement.

Image: Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport