Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Begins Construction on $404 Million Fifth Terminal, Marking Largest Project in Over a Decade

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport has initiated construction on a substantial project, a fifth airline terminal, marking the most significant development at the airport in over a decade. The terminal, spanning 230,000 square feet, is slated for completion in 2026, according to Broward County officials at the groundbreaking ceremony.

This new facility will feature five passenger gates dedicated to domestic flights, increasing the airport’s gate count to 71, as outlined by Mark E. Gale, CEO of Broward County Aviation Department. The surge in passenger and airline traffic has necessitated the construction of this terminal. Year-to-date figures through August show 23.7 million passengers passing through the airport, a substantial increase from 2022’s 21.3 million during the same period. The new terminal is projected to accommodate an additional 4 to 5 million passengers.

The expansion of the Fort Lauderdale airport is anticipated to generate approximately 3,400 direct and indirect jobs related to construction, benefiting over a dozen local small businesses. Upon completion, it is estimated that 1,000 to 1,250 permanent positions will be created. JetBlue Airways Corp., the second-largest airline at the airport by passenger market share, is overseeing the construction on behalf of Broward County. JetBlue has enlisted Parsons for program management, M. Arthur Gensler & Associates for design, KEITH as construction engineer inspector, and Hunt/Moss for risk management.

Joanna Geraghty, President and COO of JetBlue, expressed the significance of Fort Lauderdale airport in the airline’s growth, now serving over 40 destinations from the location. This expansion is a continuation of their collaborative efforts with Broward County aviation officials.

Funding for the new terminal will come from various sources, including airport bonds supported by the airlines and $80 million in state grants from the Florida Department of Transportation, as stated by Gale.

The additional terminal will house its own dedicated screening facilities, baggage checks, and passenger claim areas. While plans for food and retail operators are still in progress, an automated people mover may be integrated post-construction. A two-level pedestrian bridge will connect the new Terminal 5 to Terminal 4 for seamless passenger transit.

Moreover, the new terminal will link to the adjacent Cypress parking garage, providing multiple access points for passengers. Gale assured minimal disruption to passengers during construction.

Discussions regarding the potential new terminal had already commenced between Broward County aviation officials, Spirit Airlines, and JetBlue, the airport’s two largest airlines, prior to the emergence of the pandemic in early 2020.

Gale explained that the eagerness to expand, particularly by JetBlue and Spirit, was the driving force behind this endeavor. In July 2022, Spirit, based in Broward County, agreed to be acquired by JetBlue in a $3.8 billion deal, which would result in the formation of the fifth-largest U.S. airline, pending approval from the U.S. Department of Justice.

While it is likely that JetBlue and Spirit will secure gates in the new terminal, the specifics are contingent on regulatory approval of the acquisition. Southwest, with a 14.2% market share, is the third-largest airline at Fort Lauderdale airport, followed by major U.S. carriers Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, and American Airlines. American Airlines leads in market share at Miami International Airport.

Additionally, discount airlines such as Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, and Avelo Airlines are expanding their presence at Fort Lauderdale airport, indicating potential growth in the future. The goal is to offer a diverse range of airline services to Broward County residents.

Anthony Cordo, Executive Vice President of Visit Lauderdale, emphasized that a larger airport translates to increased convention business and tourism in Broward County. The nearby convention center is also undergoing expansion, slated for completion in late 2025, which will further enhance the region’s capacity to host large-scale events.

Related article: Expanding Miami International Airport: County Considers $45 Million Lot Acquisition Near Airport


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