While major construction is still years away, officials at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport are working behind the scenes to prepare the facility for a major rebuild. Talks began in September with the airport’s carriers, who are being asked to shoulder most of the cost of the project.
In addition, airport officials have been working on some early-stage infrastructure projects that will prepare the facility for what’s to come.
Dennis Kramer, acting director for Cleveland Hopkins, said he’s pleased with the progress and optimistic about what’s to come.
“If all goes well, we put a shovel in the ground in 2025,” said Kramer.
But much needs to happen before then.
The biggest hurdle is financing.
The total cost of the terminal rebuild is an estimated $2 billion, although it won’t be needed all at once.
The first phase of the project – which includes new concourses, centralized security checkpoints, a new ticketing area, a better-organized customs facility and more – has an estimated price tag of about $800 million.
The project is the result of a years-long study of the airport grounds, which concluded that the airport is old, cramped and poorly organized, and called for a series of upgrades based on increasing passenger levels.
The study was commissioned in 2019, five years after United Airlines closed its hub in Cleveland, which transformed the airport into a facility serving primarily local travelers, who require more parking, more drop-off space, more security screening and other services.
The plan for a new terminal was announced in early 2021 when air travel was still severely depressed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since then, however, air traffic has largely rebounded at Cleveland Hopkins and other airports across the United States.