Progress continues on the nearly $200 million expansion and renovation of Charleston International Airport.

The first of 15 new aircraft jet bridges is being installed today on Concourse B, where five new gates are being added.

The initial new Jetway-branded bridge is being placed at Gate B2 by JBT AeroTech, a Chicago-based company that made the airport's current boarding passageways nearly 30 years ago.

"Those jet bridges have served the airport reliably for all these years," said John Connell, deputy director of airports over facilities.

JBT will install each of the new passenger boarding bridges at a cost of $7 million.

Others will be replaced as construction work continues over the next few months. Those on Concourse A will be added in 2015. All of the boarding passageways will be in place by the spring of next year, according to airport officials.

In addition to five new gates, Concourse B will be reconfigured to house odd-numbered gates on one side and even-numbered gates on the other side, airport spokeswoman Charlene Gunnells said. A central hallway will make it easier for passengers to enter and leave the boarding lounges, she added.

Charleston International, the state's busiest airport, saw 2.9 million passengers in 2013. That number is expected to soar to nearly 4 million by 2030.

The expansion project includes $189 million through Charleston County Aviation Authority and another $10 million in upfits by concessionaires.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or