Airport groundbreaking kicks off billion-dollar expansion

Courtesy: Nashville International Airport

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) –  With promises of more groundbreakings to quickly come in the billion dollar expansion at Nashville Int’l Airport, the first step was taken today with the start of a parking facility with 2000 spaces.

The new six-level garage will have room for 2,000 spaces and a place for shuttles and buses to pick up and drop off travelers.

It’ll be located just south of the short term garage across from the Southwest Airlines ticketing level.

“Nashville International Airport is the gateway to our city for so many of our visitors, and it is important that we leave a great first impression,” said Mayor Megan Barry.

Photo: WKRN
Photo: WKRN

The garage will also be environmentally friendly and will be able to hold 20,000 gallons of rain water that will be used for landscape irrigation. Solar panels will also be installed on the roof.

The garage is scheduled to open in 2018 and is just the beginning of the $1.2 billion BNA Vision project.

“BNA Vision will create an even more enjoyable experience for travelers while promoting sustainability and generating economic revenue in the process,” Mayor Barry said.

The entire project will take five to seven years to complete, but will included expanded concourses, a renovated ticketing area and lobby, a hotel and a station for potential light rail.

Mayor Megan Barry (Photo: WKRN)
Mayor Megan Barry (Photo: WKRN)

There will also be a new international arrivals building which could enhance the airport’s efforts to have nonstop transatlantic flights return to Music City for the first time in more than 20 years.

Airport CEO Rob Wigington says the airport “has been ready” to handle a regular overseas flight, but the upgrade of Concourse A will make it more attractive to carriers and passengers.

He indicated a non-stop to London from Nashville “could happen any day,” but he predicted within three years.

A non-stop to Tokyo as a gateway to Asia has also been a top priority of state and local officials.

Japan is Tennessee’s biggest trade partner with major corporations like Nissan and Bridgestone having North American headquarters in the Nashville area.