Terminal C construction on schedule

JOHN WAYNE AIRPORT — The barrel-vaulted ceilings of the new terminal at John Wayne Airport were nearing completion this week, as construction crews entered the final stretch of an almost five-year airport improvement project, an airport spokeswoman said.

Terminal C will duplicate the look given to Terminals A and B, which were built at JWA almost 20 years ago. It will incorporate natural stone, neutral colors and the same vaulted ceilings, as much as new building codes allow, said project manager Khatchig Tchapadarian, of McCarthy Building Companies.

Tchapadarian and other airport officials took Orange County reporters on a tour of the construction site Thursday.

The $195.9-million project is on time, despite a few weeks of delay caused by winter rains, and is expected to be completed by November, he said.

"Building a project like this is completely different than a normal office building or residential building," Tchapadarian said. "It's totally unique in that there are lots of little bits and pieces to get to the end result."

When finished, more than 2,100 metal panels and 1,080 cubic yards will go into creating the terminal's roof, according to a press release.

The three-level terminal will feature six new commercial passenger gates and two new permanent commuter terminals, which will replace the temporary commuter trailers in use, said JWA spokeswoman Jenny Wedge.

The new gates will house Frontier and Southwest airlines, which now operate out of Terminal B.

The move of the two airlines will ease crowding at Terminal B, which serves 40% to 60% of JWA's fliers annually, Wedge said.

The airport also hopes to attract two new airline carriers with Horizon Air, a division of Alaska Airlines, as one possibility, she said.

"The importance of this project is that it will give JWA and Orange County fliers more options and more destinations," Tchapadarian said. "There will be much more flexibility."

With the project's completion, JWA will serve up to, but not exceed, 10.8 million passengers, Wedge said.

Other features of the new terminal include new security screening checkpoints, baggage carousels and new vendors for concessions, gifts, newsstands and food — including the Anaheim Ducks Slapshot Bar & Grill, the airport's first bar overlooking the airfield.

More than 2,000 parking spaces are also slated to be made available when Terminal C opens.

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