By the BF Staff
From the March/April 2020 Issue
Nashville and Middle Tennessee continue to grow at an incredibly rapid pace, attracting businesses, visitors and new residents in unprecedented numbers. Nashville’s profile is unmatched with its thriving entertainment and culinary scene, strong economy and endless opportunities for business development and job growth—it’s truly a city on the rise.
Among the booming area’s strong points is Nashville International Airport (BNA), which plays a vital role in the region. According to a recent study, BNA generated some $7.1 billion in total economic impact to the Middle Tennessee economy in 2018, more than double the figure last measured in 2012. More than 67,000 area jobs and $2.8 billion in personal income are supported by activity at BNA, which also produced $168 million in state and local taxes and $224 million in federal aviation-specific taxes. BNA also generated $6 billion of business revenue to firms providing goods and services at the airport and to the local visitor industry.
Not surprisingly, given the region’s growth track, the airport has set passenger records for the past seven years, growing by an astounding 14.2 percent in 2019 and accommodating nearly 18.3 million passengers. Indeed, for the first time the airport added more than 2 million additional total passengers and the second calendar year to exceed 1 million passengers every month. With these numbers, BNA rates as one of the fastest growing airports in North America.
In light of these trends, BNA has embarked on a comprehensive program to accommodate this growth and meet the demands of the market for both business and leisure travel. Known as BNA Vision, it’s the airport’s dynamic expansion and renovation plan designed to provide the capacity necessary to serve the community and solidify BNA’s place as one of the premier airports in the country. The project—or series of projects—broke ground in 2017 and is made up of many components, the total of which are set to be complete by 2023.
Included in BNA Vision are:
- Terminal Garages (two more will open in 2020 and 2023)
- New Concourse D (opening Summer 2020)
- Terminal Wings Expansions (opening in Summer and Fall 2020)
- Airport Adm. Building (opens late 2020)
- Pedestrian Plaza (opening early 2021)
- On-site hotel (opening in 2023)
- International Arrivals Facility (opening in 2023)
- Terminal Lobby renovation (to be completed in 2023)
The work is ongoing and has met several milestones already. The first Vision Terminal Garage that opened in December 2018 was recently awarded the “Parksmart Bronze” certification, making it one of only 35 parking structures in the world and the first in Tennessee to earn this distinction for sustainable design, construction and operation. This state-of-the-art six-level structure offers much more than a typical multi-level garage, including customer conveniences such as a digital wayfinding system to alert passengers to the number of available spaces, charging station, “Park Assist” wayfinding system and a tire inflation station.
Also part of BNA’s growth is a reimagined concessions and retail program, which includes an emphasis on local flavor and flair at the more than 90 new locations that will open by 2023.
Notably, BNA Vision provides opportunities for SMWBEs — small, minority- and women-owned business enterprises. When the current slate of BNA Vision projects is completed in 2023, the airport projects a total of $254 million in contracts for SMWBE-certified firms, a tremendous investment and a leadership level of economic inclusion.
As the engines of growth churn in Music City, so too at BNA. A source of great economic activity, the airport facilitates growth and business expansion for Middle Tennessee and beyond. With the planned expansion, airport officials and city leaders are committed to keeping the airport a successful component of the region’s success. After all, the airport is the front door and welcoming center to Nashville’s future.
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