Long-term expansion plan revealed for Charleston International Airport

The Charleston County Aviation Authority has revealed long-term plans that will significantly change how the airport will look and operate in the next 20 years.
Published: Oct. 20, 2022 at 3:52 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 20, 2022 at 11:04 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The Charleston County Aviation Authority has revealed long-term plans that will significantly change how the airport will look and operate in the next 20 years.

A parking lot next to Charleston International Airport’s terminal will soon be the home of a new concourse officials hope to complete in the next five years.

The Charleston County Aviation Authority unveiled an updated master plan for the long-term expansion to the airport on Thursday. The expansion will be done in two phases and will add 11 more gates to the facility.

“Our airport is significantly growing over the next 20 years, and we have to plan now to make sure that we can meet that demand, and that we can continue to provide a high-quality service,” COO Hernan Peña said.

Officials said the airport sees around 2.6 million passengers per year now but are expecting that number to more than double.

Phase one will consist of a new east concourse with five additional gates, a new 7,000-car parking garage and a new economy surface lot. It also includes an extension of the terminal loop.

“We’re going to have to take a hard look in terms of what is the size of the facility, but it is calling for a large parking deck that will be larger than the one we built in 2020.”

Phase two will see another new concourse, called concourse C, built on the west side, an extension of the food hall, more parking spaces for planes and redoing the roads leading in and out of the airport.

“There will be some roadway improvements that will have to be done in order to accommodate the growth, but in general, you will get to the airport in the same fashion,” Peña said.

Officials said they need to add at least nine more gates and over 6,000 parking spaces to handle an anticipated 6 million passengers per year in the future.

Travelers hope the extra gates will bring more destinations to the airport.

“I’m glad the airport is keeping up with the growth,” Charleston resident David Poston said. “The growth that they’ve had is a big improvement, and I’m sure that this growth will be a big improvement, as well.”

Officials said they are working on designing the new airport features and do not have the costs worked out yet.

Airport officials also showed plans to build an extension to concourse A and two extra parking garages, but those fall out of the 20-year plan’s range.