Airport breaks ground on $162 million makeover

Charleston International Airport officials broke ground today on the new rental car pavilion as seen in this rendering. It's the first phase of the $162 million makeover of the 27-year-old terminal. Provided by Fentress Architects

The multimillion-dollar makeover of Charleston International Airport has begun.

Airport officials broke ground today on the first phase of the $162 million overhaul.

Work will now begin on the addition of a new rental car pavilion outside the baggage claim area.

Construction on expanding the airport apron or ramp will start the following month to make way for adding six new gates to the current 10. Also on the way is a third baggage carousel, consolidated security checkpoint, relocated airport administrative offices, a central dome over the lobby and numerous cosmetic changes throughout the airport.

When completed in 2014 or so, passenger flow will drastically change. After leaving the check-in stations, passengers will turn down a new corridor behind the stations and go to a central security checkpoint with multiple lines before proceeding to the airport’s two concourses.

The lobby will be divided by a glass wall, separating the secured and the unsecured area.

Arriving passengers will pass through a door in the glass wall before heading to baggage claim. Greeters will meet arriving passengers in the lobby on the unsecured side of the wall.

Check back for more details.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or