Renovation work at Sunport will start this month. Here’s what to look for.

January 18 – Sunport’s new look is on the way.

Earlier this month, major construction began on Albuquerque International Sunport’s $87 million Dream of Flight renovation project. Jaynes Corp. is the contractor for the project after its bid was selected and Bradbury tribe beaten last spring. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2024 and is expected to support about 500 construction jobs.

A third of the costs goes into improving the infrastructure. But the airport is also getting a facelift with aesthetic upgrades like new carpet, LED lighting, and new furniture with charging ports. According to Manny Manriquez, manager of innovation and commercial development at Albuquerque International Sunport, some of these elements haven’t been updated since the ’90s.

“It’s a 100 percent update of the program,” Manriquez said, although he noted the airport will retain its “iconic look.”

Planned changes include relocating TSA and increasing its footprint by 50%. The airport is strengthening its concessions and retail offerings after security and building a food hall after security. Once the renovation is complete there will only be two retail and concession spaces in front of security.

The new program includes approximately 16 concession spaces and 10 retail spaces. By the end of March, Sunport will send out a call for tenders to find potential suppliers – with local companies being given priority.

“We really want to… showcase the flavors of New Mexico and a lot of local companies have a presence here,” Manriquez said.

The renovations will bring the number of retail and concession operators back to pre-pandemic numbers. The four current retail and concession operators are out of contract and have to submit a tender like any other company.

From late summer/early fall 2024 there will be ongoing concessions and retail closures.

To generate interest from small and local businesses, Sunport is hosting a series of informational events for potential vendors. On Thursday, it will host a webinar on the airport’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program, which encourages small and minority-owned businesses in the state to get involved with Sunport.

The airport will also host a small business matchmaking event in February to partner with larger, more experienced concessionaires, either as a joint venture or by licensing their products.

“We’d really like to see a high level of participation from small and local businesses in New Mexico,” Manriquez said.

Manriquez said the airport will also be looking for local artists to create public art installations.

FBT Architects is the architect of the project and CallisonRTKL is the designer.

Jaynes Corp. is the vulnerable site manager and will lead the project from start to finish. After a 2017 airport renovation cost more and took longer than expected, Sunport entered into a different type of contract for this round of improvements, with a maximum cost of just over $87 million and a defined schedule. Instead of bearing the entire risk on Sunport, it is shared between the contractor and the airport.

“They share the risk with us, rather than a ‘design, bid, build’ model where, you know, when it’s late, it’s late and it’s up to the owner of the project,” Manriquez said. “…So it’s much more of a collaborative model, and it’s one that really spreads the risk across all parties.”

Sunport will continue to operate flights at full capacity for the duration of the renovations, using City Gates as needed to delay operations of certain airlines while their gates are being worked on.

“It’s a unique opportunity to refresh this program,” said Manriquez.

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