PCL Construction terminated from Orlando, FL airport expansion

Dive Brief:

  • The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) decided Wednesday to end its contract with PCL Construction Services for the first phase of a $1.8 billion expansion at Orlando International Airport (OIA), according to ABC affiliate WFTV 9.
  • PCL claimed GOAA terminated the deal over the contractor's plan for cost-savings, but airport officials said PCL was trying to shift risk away from itself and onto the airport.
  • GOAA officials said the south terminal project, scheduled to open in 2020, will not suffer delays in the process of finding a new contractor. In a written response to WFTV's inquiries, PCL said it parted ways with GOAA because the two couldn't "come to agreeable terms."

Dive Insight:

GOAA awarded PCL the contract in August of last year, and, according to Airport Technology, this was set to be the contractor's 12th project at OIA. In fact, the airport awarded PCL the contract three months before it gave its final approval for the project, which is located about two miles south of the existing airport terminal.

The fact that PCL — the nation's sixth-largest contractor by revenue — has such an extensive history with the OIA made the news particularly surprising. PCL is also currently working with Turner Construction on a new $1.6 billion, five-story concourse at Los Angeles International Airport.

The new Orlando airport terminal is all part of a master plan to build an1,800-acre mixed-use development that will include a warehouse area for businesses that serve the airport. PCL's portion of the terminal work included 16 to 21 new gates, a parking garage and a ground transportation area.

Other aspects of terminal construction entail runway and taxiway infrastructure, loading bridges, landscaping, lighting, concessions and security work — much of which the joint venture of Kiewit-Turner plans to perform. The completed terminal will allow the airport to accommodate 40 million passengers each year, up from 24 million currently.

A Dodge Data & Analytics report released earlier this month found that a 16% increase in January's nonresidential construction starts were driven primarily by large airport terminal projects, namely the $3.4 billion central terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York City, as well as similar initiatives in San Francisco ($477 million), Seattle-Tacoma ($420 million) and Chicago ($70 million).

But the price tags on these projects are just a drop in the proverbial bucket compared to the money needed to bring airport infrastructure in the country up to par. According to the Airports Council International–North America, it would take $100 billion over the next five years to make all the necessary repairs and upgrades.

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