Legacies: Reflecting on the past, embracing the future
A Word From Our Director
As we look back at our accomplishments and development in 2018, we have to pause to reflect on an old friend and a critical piece of our history. In May of 2018, the old airport terminal building was demolished. The building was a symbolic and integral part of our growth. What started out as a state-of-the-art, ready-for-the-jet-age terminal building in 1960 grew over the years into a multi-concourse, six-gate facility that served us well as plans for the new terminal evolved to fruition in 1994. That building was witness to a lot of growth and development over the course of its 34 years as a terminal and its additional 25 years as a multi-use facility. It is sad but fitting that we removed this building to clear the way for the major redevelopment of the west quadrant of the airport. The next phase of history in that area is already underway.
Construction of a new 200,000 sq. ft. Gulfstream Service Center began in July of 2018 on the old terminal site, and plans were put in place to redevelop and repurpose all of the sites that had supported the terminal building since it opened in 1960. These sites and the facilities on them served us well and now will clear the way for a new generation of aeronautical activities which will benefit the entire region. New state-of-the-art general aviation facilities are planned, as are new air cargo facilities. A taxi-lane is planned to transform what was once non-aeronautical property into more beneficial aeronautical property. New aerospace companies are looking at building facilities along the former entrance road. All of this planned development will result in added jobs, opportunity, and economic growth for our region. Yes, there will be a plaque to remember the old terminal and there are photos, a few bricks, and memories. It is sad to say goodbye, but the legacy of the old terminal will be the major economic impact that will come as a result of removing it and the timeworn support facilities. Thank you old terminal for what you did for us since 1960 the new development you have made way for.
A Word From Our Chairman
During the course of this past year, I have been struck by the sheer volume of new passengers filling the terminal building, and this has caused me to reflect on how much progress we have achieved in the development of aviation in Savannah. It has not happened by accident but is rather a result of studied and thoughtful planning directed by a forward-thinking airport commission and executed by an exemplary professional staff. That combination has given witness to a period of exceptional growth and transformation in airline service, economic prosperity and diverse aeronautical development. Each generation of the airport’s leadership has built upon the experience and accomplishments of their predecessors.
Today, we find ourselves moving at an accelerated pace and replacing the buildings of our past successes with new structures that demonstrate a continued dedication to an enlightened vision of what aviation can do for our community and all of coastal Georgia and South Carolina.
We recognize the exciting potential beyond our current accomplishments. We also realize that the airport’s success could not have been achieved without partnerships, friendships, alliances, and allies. To all, we say a sincere “thank you” for helping us build upon our legacy.
Beginning with a rare Savannah snowstorm and launch of a new website, and ending with the annual Home for the Holidays and Snowball Express events, 2018 was a year where Savannah/Hilton Head International never slowed its momentum. In turn, the Airport’s unwavering determination coupled with continued tourism growth of surrounding areas resulted in record-breaking passenger numbers in 2018, with total enplanements increasing by 14%. On top of this accomplishment, Savannah/Hilton Head International was also named one of the Top 10 Best Domestic Airports by Travel + Leisure for yet another year.
As Savannah/Hilton Head International said its final goodbyes to the old terminal building, planning began for a major redevelopment that represents the tremendous growth the airport has undergone. Although Airport staff and travelers alike were sad to see the old terminal building go, exciting air service additions were introduced to the current terminal in 2018, including new nonstop services by Frontier, American Airlines, and Allegiant Air. Multiple renovation projects were also completed in 2018, from the replacement of all the automatic sliding doors in the terminal to the expansion of parking lots.
While the Savannah Airport Commission and staff reflect on past accomplishments and monumental moments in Airport history, they are looking ahead to a bright future full of opportunity, growth, and future legacies.