Five of the major airlines serving Pittsburgh International Airport have signed long-term leases for the new 700,000-sq-ft landside terminal, clearing the way for heavy construction on the pandemic-delayed $1.4-billion modernization program to get underway later this summer.

The airlines’ commitment enables the Allegheny County Airport Authority to secure bond financing and begin procurement of structural steel, foundations, underground utilities and other construction packages for the new terminal, which will consolidate ticketing, security checkpoints and baggage claim operations.

PJ Dick/Hunt and Turner Construction are serving as construction managers for the program, which was designed by the team of Gensler, HDR and luis vidal + architects.

Originally scheduled to begin construction in April 2020, the terminal was grounded along with the rest of the U.S. commercial aviation industry by the coronavirus pandemic. With the new year bringing gradually upward trends in passenger traffic, Pittsburgh’s tenant airlines endorsed spending $182 million for site preparation work, which got underway in April and is being performed by Independence Excavating, W.G. Tomko and Westmoreland Electric.

On June 18, the airport authority approved a $124.4-million contract award to Mascaro Construction Co., Pittsburgh, for structural steel and concrete decking, plus $6.3 million for other project-related expenditures.

The year-long delay, combined with airline-approved design changes, added approximately $300 million to the modernization program’s original estimated cost, announced in 2017. Other program facets include a multi-modal complex to house a 3,300-space parking garage and rental car facilities, parking lots and roadways.

The airport authority estimates the project will require 12,000 tons of steel, 94,000 tons of concrete and more than 354,000 sq ft of wood materials, which will be sourced locally where possible.

Completion is scheduled for the end of 2024, with the new facilities becoming operational in early 2025. In addition to improved space flexibility, the airport authority says the new terminal will cost significantly less to maintain than the nearly 30-year-old existing facility, which will be demolished once the modernization program is complete.