San Jose International Airport celebrates opening of additional boarding gates
Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) reached an important milestone yesterday in commissioning a $58 million Interim Gates Facility, which was designed and constructed to support current and near-term passenger growth. More than 200 City, Airport, business, and design and construction trade partners joined the grand opening of the new Gates 31-36 concourse, which is attached to the south end of Terminal B.
The event, which included a ribbon cutting, sparkling-cider toast, sounds of summer musical entertainment, and tours of the new gates and tarmac, was led by SJC Director of Aviation John Aitken. Joining Aitken in commissioning the newly-constructed gates were San José Vice Mayor Charles “Chappie” Jones, Hensel Phelps District Manager and Vice President Jim Pappas, San José Director of Public Works Matt Cano, and Southwest Airlines’ Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Andrew Watterson.
“With the opening of gates 31-36, Silicon Valley’s airport will continue to provide the world-class service and amenities that have helped drive its unprecedented growth over the last two years,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “We’re grateful to Airport Director John Aitken and his team for completing this project within a year, and for continuing to make Mineta San José International Airport the first choice for travelers to Silicon Valley.”
The new Interim Gates Facility was conceived, designed and constructed within a compressed 18-month period as the Airport team determined in early-2018 that the combined 30 gates in Terminals A and B weren’t enough to accommodate projected flight and passenger growth.
“In the first quarter of 2018, SJC’s passenger traffic increased by 18.5% as compared to the same three-month period in the previous year. The rapid growth in projected customers over 2018-2019 highlighted the need for an interim facility to meet the increased demand,” said Aitken. “Thank you to our Mayor, Council, City Public Works and Airport staff, our airlines and concessionaires, and our design and construction teams for supporting the Airport in delivering this project in such a short timeframe. This success/focus allows SJC to continue to be the easy and efficient choice for Bay Area travelers.”
Once the San Jose City Council approved the project in June 2018, construction partners Hensel Phelps and Fentress Architects ensured the rapid design and completion of the facility in time for anticipated record summer passenger traffic.
“Hensel Phelps is proud to be part of the solution in helping Mineta San José International Airport meet its goals,” said Hensel Phelps’ Pappas. “Both SJC and the City of San José were true partners on this project, and together we have delivered the Interim Facility in record time to continue transforming the way Silicon Valley travels.”
In his remarks at the event, Pappas said a majority of work on the facility was built by local labor as 75 percent of South Bay construction trade partners were assigned to the project.
“The new Interim Gates Facility offers a flexible and efficient terminal for the rapidly growing airport,” said Curtis Fentress, FAIA, RIBA, principal in charge of design at Fentress Architects. “By optimizing daylighting opportunities and implementing materials complementary to SJC’s existing architecture, our design creates a warm and relaxing passenger experience for travelers to and from Silicon Valley.”
Gates 31-35 were turned over to Southwest Airlines, while gate 36 remains under construction and will be open by Nov 1, 2019.
“Like so much at Southwest, an enormous amount of forethought and background work has gone into creating simplicity for our Customers and efficiency for our Employees here in San Jose,” said Andrew Watterson, Southwest Airlines Executive Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer. “This new facility paves the way for future growth and supports our ongoing work to serve the Silicon Valley in the way we aim to serve all of California, valuing your time and investment in Southwest by fostering easy and enjoyable journeys.”
Travelers arriving and departing from Gates 31-36 will enjoy new concessions. HMSHost-operated Island Brews serves grab n go salads, wraps and sandwiches, coffee, and alcoholic beverages that passengers can take “to go” and enjoy at their boarding gate. Hudson’s kiosk offers a range of travel essentials, along with grab and go packaged snacks. Additional concessions will be available with the opening of Gate 36 in fall 2019.
Other facility features include power chairs at each boarding gate, water-bottle filling stations, and automatic hand washers, soap dispensers and dryers in the bathroom.
While Southwest will operate out of the six new gates, the facility addition benefits all 13 airlines at SJC. It allows them flexibility to add more flight frequency and destinations to meet Silicon Valley traveler demand and will reduce flight delays created by over-scheduled gates.
The facility is expected to remain operational for five-to-seven years and allows City and Airport leadership time to continue its planning work for the future Phase 2 Expansion of Terminal B. The Interim Gates Facility was designed to remain 100 percent operational during the construction of this future project.