Silicon Valley’s airport celebrates opening of additional boarding gates

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Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) has commissioned a US$58m interim gates facility, designed and constructed to support current and near-term passenger growth.

More than 200 city, airport, business, and design and construction trade partners took part in the grand opening of the Gates 31-36 concourse, which is attached to the south end of the airport’s Terminal B.

The celebration was led by SJC director of aviation John Aitken. Joining Aitken in commissioning the newly constructed gates were San Jose vice mayor Charles ‘Chappie’ Jones, Hensel Phelps district manager and vice president Jim Pappas, San Jose director of public works Matt Cano, and Southwest Airlines’ executive vice president and chief revenue officer Andrew Watterson.

The facility was conceived, designed and constructed in a compressed 18-month period as the airport team determined in early 2018 that the combined 30 gates in Terminals A and B were insufficient to accommodate projected flight and passenger growth.

“In the first quarter of 2018, SJC’s passenger traffic increased by 18.5% over 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 increased demand,” said Aitken.

Once the San Jose City Council approved the project in June 2018, construction partners Hensel Phelps and Fentress Architects ensured the design and completion of the facility in time for anticipated record summer passenger traffic.

Gates 31-35 were turned over to Southwest Airlines, while Gate 36 remains under construction and will be open by November 1, 2019.

Travelers arriving and departing from Gates 31-36 will enjoy new concessions. HMSHost-operated Island Brews serves grab-and-go salads, wraps and sandwiches, coffee and alcoholic beverages that passengers can take away. 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 autumn 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.

As well as being used by Southwest, the facility will benefit all 13 airlines at SJC. It will give them the 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 planning work for the future Phase 2 expansion of Terminal B. The interim gates facility was designed to remain 100% operational during the expansion.


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Tara has worked for UKi Media & Events since 2013, initially as a freelancer. She has been a journalist for over a decade and has worked for a range of publications, including Personnel Today, Management Today and The Grocer.

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