The first phase of the $150 million makeover of Charleston International Airport’s terminal will start three months earlier than previously announced.

After a ground-breaking ceremony Oct. 18, work on the $15 million expansion of the ramp leading to the terminal and a new rental car pavilion is set to start in mid-November, according to Airports Director Sue Stevens.

The airport terminal will undergo a major overhaul over the next two or so years.

Charleston is adding six new gates, a third baggage carousel, consolidated security, a dome over the atrium, new office space and a redesign that will direct passengers through security behind the airline kiosks instead of through the lobby.

Work will be done in phases to disrupt passenger service as little as possible.

A separate project, expanding the amount of surface parking at the airport, is scheduled to be completed Nov. 3, according to Jim Fann, the airport’s deputy director of engineering and planning.

The new $1.4 million surface lot will provide 428 new parking spaces, a move that’s a precursor to the eventual doubling of the 1,200-space parking deck. Parking fees are not expected to increase to pay for the parking lot expansion.

Surface parking now costs $8 a day, compared to $15 daily for a space in the garage. The first half-hour is free, and each additional half-hour costs $1 in surface and deck parking.

The airport saw a record 2.5 million people pass through its gates in 2011, or 25 percent more than the previous year. The number of passengers is expected to double by 2030, according to airport officials.

The number of passengers boarding planes at Charleston International is up 30 percent for the year compared to the same period in 2011, Stevens said Tuesday.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 937-5524 or