Albuquerque Sunport Announces Major Upgrades to Terminal Infrastructure

Jan 24, 2022

The City of Albuquerque and Sunport officials have announced a major renovation project aimed at upgrading the Albuquerque International Sunport’s safety and security infrastructure and reimagining its food, beverage, and retail offerings.

“The Sunport is the gateway to our city and our state, and a renovation of this magnitude to the infrastructure of the building and the area where travelers spend most of their time is long overdue,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “With this project, we are continuing to drive forward and improve the safety and ease of the traveler experience from the curb to the gate.”

There are three major components of the project. First, relocating the TSA screening checkpoint north towards the escalators, designing for greater security checkpoint efficiency for passengers and TSA agents. The second phase will be largely behind the scenes, modernizing the Sunport’s fire suppression, HVAC, plumbing, mechanical and electrical infrastructure, bringing these systems up to modern building code in areas of the Sunport designed decades ago. It will also convert lighting throughout the terminal to LED, furthering the Sunport’s sustainability efforts.

“This is a major project that will level-up our Sunport for traveler safety and ease every time they fly,” said CABQ Chief Operations Officer Lawrence Rael. “But most significantly, we are making changes behind the scenes; upgrading safety and building infrastructure to continue our work running a state-of-the-art travel hub for the southwest.”

The final phase of the project reimagines the Sunport’s food, beverage, and retail area with a new look and expanded dining and retail opportunities.

“While we are still in the early stages of this project, we’re eager to be working with experts in airport concessions to reimagine our current offerings and explore the possibilities with a new footprint on the third level,” said Richard McCurley, Interim Director of Aviation for the City of Albuquerque. “The iconic culture and sense of place we all love about the Sunport will be top of mind in the design and planning stages, and we will continue our focus on local businesses and brands unique to Albuquerque and New Mexico.”

The Sunport’s current concessions program layout was developed pre-9/11 and has not seen any significant changes or improvements. Since then, the security screening checkpoint was added and passenger behavior has significantly changed, with the average Sunport passenger spending 55 minutes or more post-security. Moving the TSA checkpoint forward will create a 24% larger post-security footprint, allowing for additional amenities in the area of the terminal where passengers need it most.

As part of the redevelopment, the Sunport hopes to reach new audiences by hosting outreach events for restaurateurs and retailers to learn about doing business with the airport.

The Sunport is working with local architecture firm FBT Architects, chosen in 2020 via the City’s RFP process, to conduct surveys and develop initial concepts and designs for the redevelopment. The City is currently accepting proposals for a Construction Manager At Risk to provide pre-construction and construction services.

The project will be phased, with construction beginning in January 2023, and is estimated to cost $85 million. The project does not use Albuquerque general fund dollars, instead, it is funded with revenue generated by the CABQ Department of Aviation and federal funds. Shops and restaurants will be available at all times during construction.

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