Sky bridge may open in fall 

The journey from the AirTrain station to Terminal One at San Francisco International Airport is expected to become a little bit shorter by the fall.

Crews are working on a new, $14.3 million sky bridge linking Terminal One, a domestic hub, to the airport’s shuttle, which has been carting passengers and their luggage around since 2003. Airport officials expect that the bridge will alleviate some hassles.

The new bridge is scheduled for completion in late summer or early fall, airport spokesman Mike McCarron said. It would be nearly identical to the sky bridge that connects the AirTrain station with Terminal 3, also a domestic terminal.

Those heading to Terminal One currently have to go down an elevator once off the AirTrain, walk across an underground connector tunnel and then take escalators back up to the ticketing section of the terminal, according to an AirTrain brochure. The walk takes about ten minutes; airport officials expect the sky bridge to cut that time significantly.

Traveler Candice Yarwan, who took the AirTrain to Terminal One this week, said that while the walk isn’t bad, a more direct link to the terminal might be better.

"You kind of get the feeling you’re going the wrong way, the way it is now," Yarwan said. "I like the idea of a bridge."

Plans for bridges connecting all three domestic terminals to the AirTrain were worked into the airport master plan in the late 1990s, McCarron said. Terminal bridges were successfully funded for terminals two and three as part of the airport master plan.

McCarron said the original plan was to relocate the airlines in Terminal One to the now-empty Terminal Two to remodel Terminal One. But following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the dot-com bust, the airport didn’t have the money or enough passenger demand to build a last bridge or remodel Terminal One.

A number of plans are being dusted off now that the economy has steadily improved. In January, the Airport Commission approved $1.1 million in consulting services to look into how and whether the airport can remodel both terminals one and two. With a number of new airlines expected to start up service this year, the commission said that it was a good move to start looking into refurbished terminals.

Airport planners expect passengers to increase between one and two percent annually through 2012. Though those figures don’t represent dramatic growth, McCarron said the airport is anticipating more airlines coming to the airport will require extra ticketing and baggage-checking space.

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