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SJC Soars With Expansion, Renovation

The first flight from Mineta San Jose International’s (SJC) new Terminal B took off June 30, the culmination of a $1.3B modernization and expansion project. SJC has renovated and expanded its Terminal A, constructed the new Terminal B and closed the antiquated Terminal C, which opened in 1965. The project also included a 3,000-space consolidated rental car facility.

Bill Sherry, director of aviation for SJC, says the result is “an airport that is befitting San Jose and Silicon Valley.” The project resulted in a “new” airport with 28 gates, capable of handling 14.4 million passengers annually.

The design-build aspect of the project, undertaken by Fentress Architects and Hensel Phelps Construction Co., is being credited with helping to bring the project in on budget and about one year earlier than initially projected. Sherry says that strategy helped the airport achieve its goals.

“We’re more than $140M under budget and celebrating the opening of the modernization one year earlier than if we’d done it as design-bid-build,” he says.

The airport’s major carriers, Southwest Airlines and Alaska Airlines, hailed the project – and the reduced price – at a grand opening banquet in late June.

“As a low-cost carrier, we’re especially glad that this didn’t cost $4.5B,” says Southwest CEO Gary Kelly, referring to a price bandied about during the project’s planning stages. Noting the strong partnership between airline and airport, Kelly said that “We could use Bill [Sherry] in about 60 other places.”

Alaska Airlines CEO William Ayer agreed, noting that successful partnerships between airline and airports “are not common across the country.”

Sherry claims the new SJC is “the most modern, technologically advanced airport in the world.” Technological innovations are apparent throughout the terminal, with the crowning achievement the installation of what is being billed as the most technologically advanced automated in-line baggage screening system in the world. Using four CTX 9800s as its foundation, each terminal can scan up to 1,800 bags an hour. The eight new, fully automated scanners can process as much luggage as the previous 24 machines. The system scans the bags while they are moving so they don’t have to stop, as required by prior scanners.

Along with the renovation and expansion, SJC changed its entire retail and food and beverage concessions programs. The concessions opportunities were divided into four packages (two retail, two food and beverage) with locations interspersed throughout the two terminals.

“We didn’t want just two master concessionaires, one for each terminal,” Sherry says. “We wanted them to intermingle, figuring competition is good.”

Incumbent HMSHost won one retail and one food and beverage package, Hudson Group won the second retail package and Areas USA was given the second food and beverage package. At press time, about 75% of the concessions were open, with build-outs continuing for the remaining 25% over the next few months. The program consists of 40 concessions spaces overall, divided equally between retail and food and beverage.

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