Wichita Airport Construction Projects

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The new Wichita terminal is the gateway to the City of Wichita and as such it is the first and last impression for a large variety of visitors and residents to the City. The new terminal will emphasize Wichita’s perception as the “Air Capital of the World”, acknowledging the modern technology that keeps Wichita at the leading edge of the aircraft industry.

The City of Wichita and its Airport Authority began the process of considering the development of the third new airline terminal for Wichita back in the early 2000s. The first terminal was constructed in the early 1930s, and is now the home of the Kansas Aviation Museum. The existing terminal was the second airline facility for the community, and it was opened in 1954 when the McConnell Air Force Base opening forced the relocation of the City’s airport to the current site. Thus, the project to develop the newest terminal is called “Air Capital Terminal 3” or “ACT 3” to reflect the fact that this will be the third airline terminal for Wichita, the Air Capital of the World.

In the early 2000s, an Airport Master Plan study was initiated to look at the next 20 years of development opportunities and challenges for Mid-Continent Airport. Physical inventories and evaluations of all existing Airport facilities and services were conducted. In addition, information on the region’s population growth potential and other socioeconomic data was collected and evaluated with respect to its impact on Airport activity. Demand on the existing facilities was evaluated, and forecasts of future demand were examined, and physical plant accommodation of that demand was considered.

The study was completed in 2003, and concluded that the existing facility was nearing the end of its functional life, and that for the maximum operational efficiency in the future, some type of major development of the airline terminal facilities would be needed. As a result, the Airport began a new study that focused solely on the terminal area needs.

This Terminal Area Plan examined whether the existing terminal could be expanded, modernized, rehabilitated, renovated, and brought up to current building and life safety codes, or if a new replacement facility would be a better choice. The analysis showed that rehabilitating the current terminal would cost as much or more than constructing an entirely new building, and it would still be a 60-year-old building by the time the renovations were complete. And, the current building site and configuration doesn’t readily permit significant expansions to take place in the future. Thus, the Wichita Airport Authority voted unanimously in October of 2004 to move forward with the design of a new airline terminal to replace the 1954-vintage facility.

In 2005, following national searches, a Program Management firm (AECOM Transportation) was selected and contracted to manage the complex project for the Airport Authority, and in 2006, the Master Architect/Engineer (HNTB Architecture) was selected and contracted to design the facilities.

Some of the major first tasks of the Design Team and Airport staff were to develop a project financial feasibility plan and target budget that would be affordable. In the fall of 2006, the Airport Authority voted unanimously to proceed forward with a target project budget of $150 million, plus a $10 million reserve.

The next step was to prepare Conceptual and Schematic Designs for the facility that were based upon a series of goals and design objectives assembled by a wide-ranging group of technical experts, facility users and community leaders. Those designs were approved in the summer of 2007, and the team went forward with preparation of Design Development plans. Later in 2007, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the Environmental Assessment for the project, which released the work to continue moving forward.

The Design Development plans for the replacement airline passenger terminal were presented to the Wichita City Council (which is also the Airport Authority), Wichita Design Council, and the Wichita Airport Advisory Board, on August 26, 2008 in a workshop at City Hall. All groups were satisfied that the design team was moving in the right direction, and work began on preparing the contract documents and full plans and specifications for bidding the many phases of the project.

Bidding on installing utilities and relocating roadways, and preparing the site for development, is planned to occur in the mid-summer of 2009. Bidding on the major components of the Terminal Building should occur in the fall of 2009, with substantial completion anticipated about three years following groundbreaking.

A primary goal of the project has been to design a cost- effective facility in order to keep construction costs and rental rates low for the airlines using the facility, and to provide a terminal that provides better operational efficiencies for both airlines and passengers. No local tax money will be used for the construction or operation of the terminal, and federal airport grant funds only come from users of the Nation’s aviation system.

The replacement terminal building is about the same size as the current facility, but can handle more passengers. It is more efficient, and is expected to be less costly to operate and maintain due to energy-efficient equipment and generous use of skylights. The new terminal is capable of handling two million passengers annually when it opens. However, the facility has been designed to easily permit future expansions to support growth up to 2.4 million annual passengers.

The new building will be located immediately west of the existing terminal in order to utilize much of the existing roadway, utilities, and parking facilities. The two-story, 275,000 square foot terminal will be a state-of-the-art modern architectural design which expresses flight and Wichita’s globally-prominent position in the aviation industry as Air Capital of the World. Aviation-themed exhibits portraying the history of aviation in Wichita are an integral element in the terminal’s design.

The curvilinear roof form serves as a large gestural element evoking the dynamic motion of flight. The main level arrivals/departures curb features a translucent canopy, shielding passengers from the elements while loading and unloading at curbside, and refined landscaping which creates a natural area between the curb and the lobby. A dominant interior feature will be the “great wall” above both the ticketing and bag claim lobbies that is washed with natural light from a linear skylight above, and which will be the location of a significant art component.

The new terminal opened on June 3, 2015. The existing terminal will be demolished when the new terminal is fully operational. The basement of the current terminal will remain for maintenance and utility support functions and storm shelter purposes.

This new terminal will provide the airlines with a facility that is designed with modern airline operational and security practices being accommodated. And, it is more efficient and customer-friendly than the current one, and as a result it will allow the airlines to provide better service.


  • The new terminal was designed to reflect the Wichita’s aviation prominence.
  • The new state-of-the-art terminal has two levels and features 12 gates. The image of the building is designed to express flight and exemplify Wichita’s globally-prominent position in the aviation industry. As part of the building design, there are special public art and exhibits which document the rich aviation tradition of Wichita, incorporated as integral elements of the terminal design.
  • The curvilinear roof form serves as a large gestural element evoking the dynamic motion of flight. The metal roof gently swoops upward from the center of the terminal, welcoming passengers as they enter the immediate terminal area. Likewise, the curve appears on the interior, allowing maximum daylight for the passengers and employees of the airport to enjoy.
  • A spacious ticketing wing is equipped with self-check in kiosks for a more efficient check-in process. Escalators, elevators, or stairs will take you to the second floor for security screening.
  • With inspiration from the contrails of aircraft flying in the sky, the terrazzo design in the floor guides passenger flow. Dense lines near high passenger traffic areas then spread out towards the various destination points along the concourse. For example, the design lines are dense near the passenger screening area and then flow thru the floor design in the concourse to the gates.
  • Wichita’s rich aviation history has produced many important people and manufacturers to the aviation world. Historical exhibits are located throughout the terminal to provide educational opportunities for passengers and visitors alike. On the public mezzanine, the wing-like exhibits contain historical data and graphics explaining the rich history of Wichita’s aviation heritage.
  • The color scheme is based on the aircraft primer colors. This display shows many of the aircraft manufactured in Wichita.
  • The iconic features of the ceiling elements located in the ticketing, baggage claim and concourse are meant to evoke the interiors of aircraft. The gentle bevel of the ceiling element is reminiscent of the window and surrounding casing on the interior of aircraft. In combination with ample daylighting, indirect lighting within the ceiling elements will softly fill the interiors with light.
  • The upper level concourse has 12 departure lounges, concessions and expanded passenger security screening to meet TSA’s latest and potential future standards.
  • Twelve (12) boarding gates each equipped with a glass boarding bridge with pre-conditioned air and ground power for aircraft.
  • Glass-walled jet bridges are made of the same structural framing of a regular jet bridge.  The glass walls are 1-inch thick and made of tempered laminated insulated glass.  The glass is also heat resistant.  The glass walls are only placed vertically and built to withstand 100 mph winds.  Because these are glass walls are vertical, hail is not a concern.
  • The jet bridges can be raised or lowered to accommodate all aircraft (except small GA aircraft)
  • Stairs and elevators are close to the main ticket lifts with easy access to the ramp for ground boarding operations
  • 786 outlets and USB ports attached to new Arconas Flyaway seating for plugging in your mobile devices.
  • Larger public restrooms with 59 stalls for women, 52 stalls for men, and 5 family restrooms.
  • Expanded baggage claim area with three carousels
  • Outbound passenger baggage handling systems with inline explosives detection security screening.
  • Centralized outbound baggage make-up room with two large outbound carousels
  • Covered curbside and covered crosswalks to parking and rental cars
  • Much larger TSA security checkpoint area


Ed Carpenter, Artist

Ed Carpenter is an artist specializing in large-scale public installations ranging from architectural sculpture to infrastructure design. Since 1973 he has completed scores of projects for public, corporate, and ecclesiastical clients. Working internationally from his studio in Portland, Oregon, Carpenter collaborates with a variety of expert consultants, sub-contractors, and studio assistants. He personally oversees every step of each commission, and installs them himself with a crew of long-time helpers, except in the case of the largest objects, such as bridges.

While an interest in light has been fundamental to virtually all of Carpenter’s work, he also embraces commissions that require new approaches and skills. This openness has led to increasing variety in his commissions and a wide range of sites and materials. Recent projects include interior and exterior sculptures, bridges, towers, and gateways. His use of glass in new configurations, programmed artificial lighting, and unusual tension structures have broken new ground in architectural art. He is known as an eager and open-minded collaborator as well as technical innovator.

  • The main terminal sculpture is composed of cable and laminated dichroic glass mounted to the ceiling above the ticketing counters, baggage claim, and central mezzanine lobby areas. This sculpture is 330 feet in length and spans between columns under the skylights.
  • The art is meant to evoke images and feelings of flight and space as well as ascent and descent. Light from the skylights above will provide a continual changing color pattern on the walls and floor below.


Concourse level, Post-Security

  • River City Brewery
  • Chick Fil’ A
  • Dunkin’ Donuts
  • Grab & Fly
  • Air Capital Bar
  • 3 CNBC Retail Shops

Main level Pre-Security:

  • Aviator’s Café (restaurant, bar, shopping area in main terminal)


Sustainability Features

The ACT 3 Terminal is designed and constructed in accordance with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Guidelines. Some sustainability attributes include:

  • High performance building envelope including high R-factor insulation systems at walls and roofs and low solar heat gain glazing systems;
  • High performance HVAC systems, with sophisticated controls;
  • Use of groundwater for tempering baggage handling areas and heat for snowmelt systems at sidewalks;
  • Efficient lighting with controls that take advantage of daylighting from skylights and large glass walls to cut energy use further;
  • Recycling of construction waste materials
  • Low water use plumbing fixtures
  • Reduced solar heat impact through use of light colored paving and roofing
  • Water efficient landscaping
  • High performance building envelope with maximum insulation
  • Efficient lighting with controls tied to natural daylight
  • Bicycle racks for employees
  • Recycling of construction waste materials
  • Use of regional materials to minimize transport
  • Materials used to improve air quality and high efficiency air filtration


Fun Facts

  • Square Footage -275,000 SF, including 149,000 SF on Level 1, 118,000 SF on Level 2, and 6,000 SF in the basement
  • Number of Gates –12
  • Number of Baggage Claims –3
  • Number of Ticket Counter Spots –48
  • Number of Security Lines –4
  • Number of Signs – 515
  • Number of Escalators –2
  • Staircases –12
  • Number of Doors –325
  • Types of Finished Floors –Terrazzo, Tile, Stained Concrete and Carpet
  • 1 3/8 ” thick glass windows
  • There are 7 unique types of windows on the exterior with different shades, colors, transparencies, and UV resistancies
  • The walk from ticketing wing to your gate is 40-60% of the distance you used to walk.

Site/Structural Features

  • Concrete Paving –1,195,000 SF of new Aprons, Roads, and Sidewalks
  • Concrete in the Building –12,200 cubic yards
  • Tonnage of Steel –3,000 tons
  • Exterior Walls -112,000 SF of Masonry, Glass Curtain, and Composite Panels

Mechanical Features

  • Radiant Floors –23,000 SF
  • Footage of Piping –8.5 miles of Gas, Hydronic, and Water Lines
  • Output of Chillers –2,100 tons
  • Number of Plumbing Fixtures –267


  • Number of Light Fixtures -970
  • Number of Security Cameras –143
  • Length of new electrical and communication cabling –114 miles


  • $160 million program, which includes enabling projects, design, management, building construction


  • FAA Aviation Trust Fund (AIP) Grants (aviation users)
  • Transportation Security Administration Grants (aviation users)
  • Airport Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs)
  • Concessions
  • Parking
  • Rental Cars
  • Leases
  • Space Rental to Airlines
  • Airport system revenues
  • No local tax dollars are used.


  • Body scanners are slated to arrive by opening day.


AECOM – Program/Construction Management

HNTB Architecture – Architectural/Engineering Design

Key Construction/Walbridge – General Contractor



HNTB Corporation

Lead Architects, Kansas City


GLMV Architecture

Associate Architects & Construction Administration, Wichita


Professional Engineering Consultants

Civil, Electrical & Mechanical Engineering, Wichita


Dudley Williams & Associates

Structural Engineering, Wichita


Greteman Group

Public Art and Historical Element Design, Wichita


Landworks Studio

Landscape Architect, Olathe, KS


FSC, Inc.

Fire Protection Systems, Overland Park, KS


Ross & Baruzzini

Communications & Technology,

Webster Groves, MO



Baggage Handling Systems, Denver


Lightworks, Inc.

Lighting Design, Weston, MO


Naughton& Associates, Inc.

Signage & Graphics Design, Chicago



The Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport earned a Gold Award for the design of its new terminal at the 4th Annual Mid-America Design Awards presented by the International Interior Design Association. The award was presented on May 6, 2011 in Overland Park, Kan.

The new airport terminal —designed by HNTB Architecture, in association with GLMV Architecture —was recognized in the “Unbuilt” category. Critique was based upon innovation, implementation of design through use of materials, color, light and overall solution.


Features – Parking Garage

  • 4 level, 1600 car parking garage designed for horizontal expansion
  • Electric charging stations for vehicles in parking garage
  • Rental car service counters and lobby adjacent to the parking garage, plus covered rental car ready/return spaces
  • Automated exiting
  • More convenient express services and automated payment options.
  • Rental car pickup and drop-off on 1st level parking structure
  • Rental car agency customer service center adjacent to garage
  • Crosswalk canopies to provide a covered pedestrian path connecting with terminal
  • Surface parking service offerings – Close-in, Economy and Park & Ride


Project Budget

  • $40 million general obligation bonds to be retired with airport revenues
  • Revenue Sources
    • Customer Facility Charge (CFC)
    • Rental car use and lease revenues
    • Parking revenues



Crossland Construction


Design Team

  • Carl Walker, Inc., Parking Design Specialists, Dallas, TX
  • Schaefer Johnson Cox Frey, Architect & Landscape Architecture
  • Coover Clark
  • CONRAC Specialists, Denver, CO
  • Kent Williams, Aesthetic Enhancement Consultant
  • Ruggles & Bohm Civil Engineer
  • Midwest Engineering Mechanical Engineer
  • InSite Group Electrical Engineer
  • Bothner & Bradley Public Relations
  • Karagozian & Case Blast Risk Engineers
  • Terracon Geotechnical Engineer


Flight Search

Arrivals Departures