The economy may have curbed passenger traffic at many U.S. airports, but its effects on aviation construction so far have been minimal.

The reason is the extensive amount of time required for airport construction programs to evolve, says Jayne O’Donnell, vice president of Turner Construction Co., New York City, and general manager of Turner’s aviation practice.

“Work is on schedule because it’s been scheduled for years,” O’Donnell says. Despite continuing turmoil among air carriers, “Airports are pretty skilled in planning and building for what’s probable, not what’s possible,” she adds.

Much of the sector’s activity can be found in California, where Turner is teaming with Flatiron Construction Corp. for the $500-million, 470,000-sq-ft design-build expansion of Terminal 2 at San Diego International Airport, and the 300,000-sq-ft, 19-gate Terminal B Modernization Program – Airside Concourse project at Sacramento International Airport.

Los Angeles International Airport has multiple terminal airside and ground access projects in progress as part of its $11-billion upgrade program. In San Jose, Mineta San Jose International Airport is beginning the final year of its $1.3-bil-lion multifacility modernization program.

On the East Coast, Washington Dulles International Airport is nearing completion of its new AeroTrain passenger transport system, while Miami International Airport’s $6.2- billion capital improvements program continues with a 1.27-mile, $259-million automated people mover that will link the airport with the new Miami Intermodal Center.

Smaller airports, more dependent on federal funds for their improvement programs, are hoping the House and Senate will quickly reconcile their versions of the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill. Baggage screening upgrade programs also are receiving more funding from the Transportation Security Administration.