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Airport gears up for changes in 2020

Dec 31, 2019

Passengers will see a lot happening at Jacksonville International Airport in 2020 -- but most of it has nothing to do with the long-anticipated third concourse.

For starters, the construction on the parking garages will finish up, easing the demand for parking at the airport.

"It's been pretty intense during the holidays, but that garage will open up in February, and then will we start working on an economy lot for customers," said Mark VanLoh, CEO of the Jacksonville Aviation Authority.

The moving walkways moving from the parking garages to the airport will also be completed.

"People tell me they've never seen it work," said VanLoh. "But it's been completely gutted."

The airport recently got new parts for the walkways and it is expected to be up and running by next summer, relieving one of the airports biggest complaints from passengers.

The baggage claim area will also be getting a makeover, sort of. The ceiling will receive new metal tiles and the lights will be replaced with LEDs, changes that VanLoh said are sorely needed.

"If you're standing in baggage claim with nothing to do, and you look up, the ceiling is horrible. It's got these old fabric panels, and I swear, those are cigarette smoke stains, and that's how old they are. I mean, they've been there forever," said VanLoh.

Work will begin on the Concourse B, but it isn't likely to be something that passengers will notice. Most of the work will be laying the ground work out in the airfield because the airport is starting the construction out and bringing it in, to avoid major disruption.

As a part of that construction, the Jax Club will be moved to a higher level. However, VanLoh says that the club is so popular, it would have likely needed to move in order to double in size anyway.

By Ellen Schneider  – Reporter, Jacksonville Business Journal

Nonstop flights to the West Coast and Europe from Jacksonville? Could happen by 2022

January 1, 2020

Improvements are coming to the Jacksonville International Airport in 2020, and they won’t stop there.

By the year 2022, a new $200 million concourse project is expected to be complete, and it could pave the way for nonstop flights to the West Coast and Europe. 

“I think that will be very helpful, and I think that that could be a lot more convenient for people of the Jacksonville area,” said JIA traveler, Samantha Rylicki. 

2018 was a record setting year for JIA when it comes to people flying in and out of the airport. 

“There’s a reason we’re building Concourse B,” said JAA CEO Mark Vanloh. “Those six additional gates will get us more flights.” 

Vanloh tells us the goal is to bring in nonstop flights to coveted destinations. 

“That’s what we’re looking for, nonstop. Everybody has to go to a hub nowadays to change planes,” he said. “We know we need nonstop service to the West Coast. LA, San Francisco, Seattle.” 

Vanloh said we may even see flights to Europe in the future. He tells us the details of the concourse, and the flights it could bring in, are being solidified. 

“These, of course, are goals,” he said. “There’s nothing definite in the airline industry, it’s all depending on our economy, and of course Jacksonville’s economy is booming right now.” 

We’re told construction for Concourse B could begin by the end of 2020, and would likely happen in the third or fourth quarter of this year, after the bidding process. 

Also by the end of this coming year, travelers will see new, healthier food options, a new ceiling with LED lighting above baggage claim and 300-400 spaces in the parking garages are expected to be available yet again by late January or mid-February, once certain garage improvements are complete. 

A JIA spokesperson tells us moving walkways extending from the garages to the terminal are also expected to be finished by the end of 2020.

By: Ryan Nelson

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