NORTH CHARLESTON (WCSC) - Charleston International Airport (CHS) officials announced the bulk of construction for the multi-million dollar renovations will be complete summer of 2016.
The announcement came nearly four years after crews broke ground on the $199 million dollar project.
"We're no longer a small town airport. We're a big time airport," Paul Campbell, CEO and exec. director of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, said. "This whole area is growing like a weed, and we want to be here for it. We want to be the first impression when people get on the ground in Charleston, and we want to be the last impression when they leave."
Monday's announcement comes weeks before summer vacations begin, when the airport will again see an influx of passengers.
According to the Aviation Authority, Charleston International greeted a record 3.4 million passengers in 2015, surpassing its 2014 numbers.
Airport officials expect close to 3.7 million will fly through the airport this year.
Renovations include a terminal apron expansion of 543,600 square feet of new pavement for aircraft parking; rental car pavilion; consolidated security screening; and baggage claim renovation and expansion.
Five new gates were added to Concourse B, as of Oct. 2015. Concourse A was also renovated to match Concourse B; construction for that phase will be complete in April 2016.
Campbell said the new food court, featuring Lowcountry art and food favorites like gourmet market Caviar and Bananas, Charleston Beer Works and Jack Nicklaus Golden Bear Grill, will be finished this summer.
"Retail and the food and beverages will all be done by July," Campbell said. "So in July we're going to have a big brand new airport, big enough to handle the crowd that's coming in."
Retail stores like Veranda News and Lowcountry Harley Davidson opened last spring. Eddie Bauer, Tech on the Go, and others are expected to open doors this April.