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Charleston airport hits construction milestones, preps for holiday travel

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Staff Report
Published Nov. 24, 2015

Charleston International Airport’s ongoing renovation project hit some construction milestones over the weekend leading up to Thanksgiving, the airport’s busiest travel week of the year.

The traffic lanes in front of the terminal reopened Saturday after being closed for more than a year. Those closest to the terminal will be for passenger pickup and drop-off. The outside lanes are for taxis, shuttles and other ground transportation.

CLICK TO ENLARGE. All passengers now exit through the Central Hall, and traffic lanes have returned to their previous patterns. (Map/Charleston International Airport)CLICK TO ENLARGE. All passengers now exit through the Central Hall, and traffic lanes have returned to their previous patterns. (Map/Charleston International Airport)
“Passengers should watch for signage and drive with caution on International Boulevard as people become reacquainted with the normal traffic flow,” an airport news release said.

The third baggage claim carousel and all Concourse B gates and boarding lounges also opened Saturday.

All arriving passengers now exit the concourses in the new location under the Central Hall dome. Guests waiting to greet passengers can gather under the dome or wait in baggage claim.

“We’re excited to reach this point in the terminal redevelopment. ... We expect that by the end of the year most of the construction will be complete in ticketing, baggage claim and the public side of the Central Hall,” Sen. Paul G. Campbell Jr., executive director and CEO of the Charleston County Aviation Authority, said in the release.

Construction will continue on Concourse A and on new retail and dining outlets in the Central Hall through the spring. Some work will also continue for the next several weeks in the opened areas.

Thanksgiving travel

More people travel through Charleston International Airport for Thanksgiving than for Christmas, with today and Sunday being the busiest days.

Last year, 33,334 people were screened for departing flights at the Charleston airport during the week of Thanksgiving, according to security screening data from the Transportation Security Administration.

On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving last year, the TSA screened 5,700 passengers for outgoing flights. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving was also busy, with 5,200 passengers screened. Thanksgiving Day saw about 2,700 passengers.

The Sunday after Thanksgiving last year was the busiest with 6,115 passengers screened. That Monday reported 5,600 passengers screened, while the Saturday after had 5,300 passengers.

The airport advises allowing plenty of time to drive to the airport, park, check in and go through security.

Passengers might have to park in a remote lot and take a shuttle to the terminal. The parking deck, surface lot and remote parking lots will be open for holiday travelers. The seasonal remote lots will be open Nov. 24 through Jan. 10. The airport encourages passengers to have someone drop them off, carpool, or use regional bus service or area taxi services.

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