Pensacola International Airport (PNS)

  • David L. King

    David L. King AIA, NCARB

    Division Vice President, Dallas/Richmond/Charlotte Contact

The terminal at Pensacola International Airport was overcrowded, resulting in a poor passenger experience and the loss of potential revenue. To make matters worse, travelers arriving by car often had difficulty locating the entrance drive due to poor visibility. To address these issues, GS&P modernized and expanded the terminal and concourse and designed a new entrance drive.
For the initial project, existing ticketing and baggage claim areas were renovated, and a four-gate concourse pier was added along with escalators for two ground boarding positions. We also designed a new 1,400-space parking structure on the site of the former surface parking areas with rental cars at the grade level, public parking at the upper levels, and an enclosed pedestrian skybridge connector to the concourse level of the terminal.
As enplanements continued to increase, GS&P was brought back to provide design services for additional expansions and renovations. The terminal expansion added an additional 80 linear feet of ticketing counter, a security checkpoint expansion, additional airport administration space, and an in-line EDS baggage screening system. Renovation work included a comprehensive update of interior finishes and restroom facilities throughout the existing terminal and the new terminal addition.
Located at a busy intersection with limited sightlines in all directions, the airport entry drive was poorly identified and easy to miss. As part of the renovation program, GS&P designed a new monumental entry feature to promote the airport’s brand and serve as a visually appealing and functional marker of the airport entrance for approaching traffic. The new design physically connects a Navy Blue Angel jet to the main entrance approximately 100 yards down the road with an undulating feature wall that evokes wind, water and the sail-like shapes used elsewhere in the airport’s architectural vocabulary. This iconic front door addresses the airport’s visibility concerns, reflects its identity, and celebrates the regional character of the Gulf Coast.
Ultimately, GS&P helped improve PNS’s passenger level of service while enabling an increase in non-aeronautical revenue. Travelers driving to the airport can now easily locate the entrance and find parking. The modern, more efficient processing helps passengers get from the garage to their gates faster and with less anxiety, giving them free time to enjoy the airport’s many retail and dining options.

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