New feather in JWA's cap

John Wayne's brim got a little bit larger this month when developers completed the roof of the airport's new terminal, officials involved in the project announced Friday.

Construction crews from McCarthy Building Cos. on Aug. 2 laid down the last piece of structural steel on JWA's Terminal C, a new 280,000-square foot, three-level facility with six more gates for commercial airliners.

Crews began constructing the walkway connecting the terminal to Terminal B in May. Dubbed an airport "improvement" instead of expansion, the airport's remodeling costs about $540 million and includes more than just the new terminal. Construction crews are upgrading and renovating the airport's existing terminals to the tune of $102.3 million.

The airport expects to serve more than 10.8 million passengers between January 2011 and December 2015.

Terminal C's construction costs $195.9 million. There will also be three more baggage carousels, concession stands and additional security checkpoints for domestic and international flights.

The airport currently serves once-a-day flights to Toronto. Termincal C opens up the possibility of more international flights, including service to Mexico and Central America, airport officials said.

John Wayne Airport served more than 8.7 million passengers last year and that number is only expected to grow. About $180 million of the airport's upgrades are paid for by revenue from a $4.50 federal Passenger Facility Charge.

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