Anyone who’s been to the Nashville International Airport recently may have already noticed some progress on a massive expansion project in the works.
Crews have already completed a new six-floor parking garage, and more major projects are in progress.
“It’s all about addressing the growth that’s happening in Middle Tennessee and the passengers that are coming through BNA,” said Kym Gerlock, director of communications for Nashville International Airport.
“Just last year, we set another record for passengers, there were nearly 18.3 million passengers that came through BNA, which was a 14.2% increase over the previous year. It makes us one of the fastest growing airports in the country.”
The growth is the reason the airport released its nearly $1.4 billion BNA Vision Plan which, through expansion, redesign and customer amenities, will make BNA one of the premiere airports in the country.
Nashville residents are already well versed in the headaches that come with a booming city, and Nashville International Airport won’t escape that. Travelers will feel the impact in the next three years as new projects begin and others move toward completion.
“We will be extremely user friendly in terms of signage and helping direct people to where they need to go,” said Gerlock. “There is extremely thorough and careful planning as part of this process, and we’re going to make it as easy and efficient as we can, but there is going to be some major construction going on, and people will feel that.”
One of the most noticeable projects to travelers at this point is the construction of a new concourse D and expansion to the north terminal wing, which is expected to be completed in the spring. Expansion to the south terminal wing is expected to be finished in the summer.
When completed, there will be new ticketing and baggage claim areas, additional security screening lanes and six additional flight gates. While construction is underway, passengers will want to arrive earlier than usual for their flights to navigate work site detours and possible congestion at security.
Travelers who fly internationally are already accessing an interim arrival facility while work on a new state-of-the-art facility begins. The project won’t be finished until 2023, but it will include six new international gates to accommodate demand and hopefully attract new airline services from Europe, Asia, Latin America and more.
Other major projects planned at Nashville International Airport include a new terminal lobby.
“It will be beautiful, warm and welcoming with natural light and airfield views,” said Gerlock.
The plans also include an onsite hotel, another new parking garage and roughly 90 new retail and concessions locations. The entire project will be completed in late 2023.
Drivers on Donelson Pike will also feel the impact. Work to straighten the road from the airport’s taxiway bridges to Interstate 40 is expected to begin this summer. The project, which the Tennessee Department of Transportation is doing, could take up to three years. When completed, it will enhance access to the airport from I-40 east and west.
Unrelated to the BNA Vision expansion plan, there will be runway closure for major reconstruction.
“It’s the runway that runs parallel to Donelson Pike,” said Gerlock. “We’re still anticipating the impact of that. It will not impact flight schedules, meaning there will not be fewer flights coming into BNA.”
The work will begin in the spring and take at least a year to complete.
As one project ends, others will begin; and travelers need to keep that in mind.
“The construction happening at the airport is like working on a car while it’s still running,” Gerlock said. “We have some challenges ahead, and we’re working through those, but we’ll do the best we can to make it as easy and efficient as we can for travelers. We look at it as the front door to Nashville. It’s the first thing people see when they come, and it’s the last thing they see when they leave, so we want to make it as warm and welcoming as the city itself is.”