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Major Upgrades Are Coming to These U.S. Airports

From California to Pennsylvania, airports are revitalizing their facilities

by Enrique Perrella

May 15, 2023

Renderings of the new terminal at San Antonio International Airport, which will feature an outdoor courtyard and natural lighting / Photo: Courtesy of San Antonio International Airport

Three midsized commercial airports in the U.S. are undergoing major face-lifts, both within and outside their terminals. Here’s a preview:

San Antonio

San Antonio International Airport has secured an agreement with a group of architects and developers to execute a major project what will double its number of gates, allowing it to increase capacity by more than 832,000 square feet. Conceptual drawings show an outdoor courtyard area, natural lighting and textures reflecting San Antonio landmarks. According to the airport, construction of the new $2.5 billion terminal should begin in 2024, aiming to open its doors for summer 2028.


In California, the Hollywood Burbank Airport is also on its way to getting an all-new terminal. The design proposal aims to replace the current building with an upgraded facility that meets seismic and safety standards. The 355,000-square-foot terminal will include 14 gates, keeping a modernized concept that stays close to the Spanish Revival design of the original facility, which opened in 1930.


Pittsburgh International Airport unveiled plans to construct a connector bridge at its new $1.4 billion terminal. The “dynamic connector bridge and tunnel” will be used by passengers traveling between the new landside terminal and the existing airside center core. The design will take inspiration from Pittsburgh’s Fort Pitt Tunnel, which connects citizens to the city’s downtown area.

According to the airport, the new passenger tunnel will “evoke the beauty of the region,” using an architectural strategy of “compression and expansion” to comfort passengers as they emerge into the airside terminal. The bridge will use state-of-the-art lighting and dynamic screens to offer travelers a different ambient experience depending on the time of day.

The design team studied the landscape of Pittsburgh when coming up with the vision for the new space. This is in the tradition of the airport, which currently has elements inspired by the local area, from the undulating roof that represents the rolling hills of Pennsylvania to the “warm timber and ample plantings” featured throughout the terminal.

Ground was broken on the terminal in October 2021, with construction on the new passenger bridge set to begin this month. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2025.