Officials at the Nashville International Airport say it’s due for some changes: They're planning $240 million worth of upgrades starting next year, including adding more parking and replacing the jet bridges that connect the terminal to airplanes.
The terminal was originally built as a hub for American Airlines, says Rob Wigington, head of the airport authority.
“What that meant is, we have lots of airfield capacity, lots of runways and taxiways, but the space in the terminal and the curbside and parking was not designed for what we call origination-destination traffic,” he says.
People transferred planes in Nashville, Wigington says, but they didn’t park or get picked up there as often.
The hub closed in the mid-'90s, and airport traffic has grown steadily since the recession. According to Wigington, the airport's plans aim to accommodate that growth.
Among the changes: building another cell-phone waiting lot, a new lot for express valet parking and a $75 million parking garage. The lots are expected to be completed in the middle of next year. The garage has a target completion date of 2018.
The airport already has more than 12,000 spaces — about four times more than private lots nearby — and parking is its largest single source of revenue.
The airport is also getting rid of the 10-minute diagonal spots outside of baggage claim in mid-2016. Airport spokeswoman Shannon Sumrall says they cause too much of a backup during peak arrival hours. That area will be reconfigured for a better traffic flow later in the year, and the new cell phone lot should make it easier to wait for passengers, she says.