Out of the four terminals at Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, Terminal 4 has been the most outdated. Yet the terminal is one of the busiest at the airport, accounting for almost all of the flights Spirit Airlines operates from their Florida hub. The terminal handles all non-precleared international flight arrivals, as well as departures for popular South American and Caribbean airlines. The terminal was clearly become stressed, as was the rest of FLL, as the last terminal update came in 2001.
During the mid-2000’s, Broward County, the owner and operator of FLL, announced plans to modernize the whole airport. These plans included a new concourse in Terminal 1, a new runway on the southern edge of the runway, and expansion and modernization of the aging Terminal 4. The new runway opened in September of last year, and modernization work in Terminals 1,2,3 is currently ongoing. However, Tuesday, July 14th, the first part of the expansion of Terminal 4 opened up. The first flight to arrive at the new concourse, a Spirit Airlines flight from Myrtle Beach, was welcomed by airport director Kent George.
Concourse G will eventually feature 14 gates, compared to the 7 currently available in Concourse H at Terminal 4. Of those gates, 12 will be swing gates that can flip between domestic operations and international operations. This will enable FLL to accommodate current demand and future demand as the airport looks to expand. Currently only two gates are open for domestic operations only. The airport plans to have 6 gates up and running by the end of the year.
Already completed at Terminal 4 is an expansion of the TSA checkpoint from 6 lanes to 10 lanes. This will help to reduce waiting times at the congested terminal. Also in the works to improve the passenger experience is an airside connector bridge to allow passengers to connect to Terminal 3, where a handful of Spirit Airlines flights are operated. The new bridge will give passengers the ability to connect without having to go through security at Terminal 3.
Although construction is still ongoing, completing the rest of Terminal 4 will be completed in two phases to cause minimal interruptions, the upgrades already completed have already made a massive difference at FLL. The new south runway has decreased aircraft congestion and wait times for aircraft taxiing. Renovation in the other three terminals will continue until 2017 while the work in Terminal 4 should be finished completely by 2018.
The upgrades to FLL will path the way for the future of the airport. The new renovations will give the airport modern amenities and a streamlined process for passengers. It will also give the airport more capacity for future airline expansion. Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is turning into a primary gateway to South Florida as passengers seek the low fares available at FLL from Low-cost carriers that have made Ft. Lauderdale home.
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