In a significant development for Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL), the Broward County Aviation Department, in partnership with county commissioners, hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Monday, October 9, 2023, marking the commencement of construction on the highly anticipated Terminal 5 (T5). This $404 million project is expected to be a game-changer for the airport and the region, with completion slated for 2026.
The project’s groundbreaking ceremony was attended by Broward County officials, dignitaries, and aviation stakeholders. Broward County Mayor Lamar P. Fisher expressed his enthusiasm, stating, “It’s a great day for FLL as the Aviation Department and its development partners break ground on the airport’s brand-new Terminal 5. I look forward to the positive ripple effects of having another airport terminal for travelers to enjoy as they travel to and from their domestic destinations.”
Terminal 5 is set to be a state-of-the-art addition to FLL, designed to cater to the growing demand for air travel in the region. This new terminal will be a two-level facility, featuring five gates dedicated to domestic travel. With its completion, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport will boast a total of 71 gates, enhancing its capacity to serve millions more passengers.
Terminal 5 is projected to accommodate between 4 million to 5 million passengers annually and will offer a wide range of amenities, including check-in and ticketing areas, arrival and departure baggage processing, a modern security screening checkpoint, and a selection of retail and food and beverage concessions. This expansion aims to enhance the overall passenger experience and address the surging passenger and airline traffic that the airport has experienced in recent years.
The expansion of Fort Lauderdale airport is not only about improving air travel but also about boosting the local economy. The project is expected to create approximately 3,400 direct and indirect construction-related jobs, benefitting over a dozen area small businesses. Moreover, upon its completion, Terminal 5 is expected to lead to the hiring of 1,000 to 1,250 people for permanent jobs at the airport.
One of the significant aspects of this expansion is the involvement of JetBlue Airways Corp., the second-largest airline at FLL by passenger market share. JetBlue is managing the construction of Terminal 5 on behalf of Broward County. To ensure the success of the project, JetBlue has partnered with various organizations, including Parsons as the program manager, M. Arthur Gensler & Associates for design work, KEITH as the construction engineer inspector, and Hunt/Moss for risk management of the building project.
The funding for Terminal 5 will come from various sources, including airport bonds backed by the airlines and $80 million in state grants from the Florida Department of Transportation. The new terminal will feature dedicated passenger and baggage screening facilities and is expected to house food and beverage operators as well as retail outlets, although specific plans are yet to be finalized. Additionally, there are discussions about the potential addition of an automated people mover after the terminal’s completion.
To enhance connectivity and convenience for passengers, a two-level pedestrian bridge will connect Terminal 5 to Terminal 4, allowing passengers who have cleared security to move between the terminals easily. Furthermore, the new terminal will provide seamless access to the adjacent Cypress parking garage, ensuring a hassle-free travel experience for passengers arriving at FLL.
The decision to embark on this ambitious expansion project was driven by the desire for growth, particularly by airlines like JetBlue and Spirit, which had begun discussing the possibility of a new terminal even before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020. Notably, in July 2022, Spirit Airlines, based in Broward County, agreed to be acquired by JetBlue in a $3.8 billion deal, creating the fifth-largest U.S. airline. The outcome of the merger is pending approval by the U.S. Department of Justice, and the details of gate allocation at the new terminal will depend on this decision.