The Vancouver International Airport is planning $1.8 billion in capital projects over the next 10 years, with a heavily front-loaded first four years that already has out requests for proposals for the initial package of work.

The airport—just south of Vancouver on Sea Island, located in Richmond, British Columbia—generates funds for projects partly through an airport improvement fee charged to the 17 million annual passengers who travel out of the province. In May, that fee will rise to $20 from $15. Unlike American airports, Canadian airports have no federally mandated cap on the amount of the fee.

Don Ehrenholz, the airport's vice president of engineering, says the first RFP includes $213 million to rebuild the gate area at the south end of the outdated and underused domestic terminal. Crews will create new baggage and retail areas, renovate eight gates and add another. He expects the contract to be awarded within two months. The work will start immediately and finish in 2015.

This spring, the airport board is expected to approve two other "gateway package projects" for completion in 2015. The first project, for $200 million, includes a series of corridors, about 3,000 ft long, that will connect the domestic and international terminals with moving walkways on two levels and a moving baggage- transport system on two other levels.

The other project adds a $20-million customs screening facility for travelers and their baggage. "We want to focus on trying to make Vancouver airport one of the best connecting airports in North America," Ehrenholz says.

Starting in 2015, another $286 million in air-side projects will upgrade the 1960s pavement, extend taxiways and build a new air-side fire hall.

In the final five years of the expansion, to be launched in 2016, Ehrenholz expects upgrades to the domestic terminal's check-in area, the rebuilding of more gates and a new baggage system. A five-gate expansion in the international terminal will cost about $408 million. There will also be upgrades to the aging road, water and sewer systems.