News Article - June 22 2006

Old overseas terminal eyed for airport parking
  The Philadelphia Parking Authority plans to enlarge the economy parking lot at the Philadelphia International Airport by demolishing the virtually empty Overseas Terminal on Island Avenue in about a year. It will add about 2,000 parking spaces to the adjacent PPA economy lot which currently has about 6,300 spaces, according to Linda Miller, PPA senior director of facilities and public affairs. New technology which will enable the use of credit-card only exit lanes and license-plate recognition cameras at entrances will help facilitate service to customers who canít remember where they parked, she said. "Thereís been a greater demand for parking since the introduction of Southwest Airlines in 2004," she said Wednesday.

   Some 31.5 million passengers used the airport last year - a 10.5 percent increase over 2004, Miller said. In May, Charles Isdell, the airportís aviation director, said there were 486,000 takeoffs and landings in 2004 compared to 535,000 in 2005 - or between 1,400 and 1,700 flights daily. The PPA is responsible for the parking at the airport and Center City garages, on-street meter parking/enforcement and regulation of the taxi and limousine industry. Mark Pesce, a spokesman for the airport, said it will cost between $6 million-$7 million for demolition and expansion of the economy parking lot, but the spaces that are added will generate about $4 million a year in revenue.

   Pesce said an exact date for demolition is in negotiation. The Overseas Terminal on the west side of Island Avenue in Philadelphia was in operation between 1973 and 1991 for international flights before Terminal A opened. Gregg Olley, general manager of the huge AirPark lot at 1 Scott Way, Lester, said he didnít expect the airportís economy lot expansion to affect his business.

   "We have a building clientele, primarily corporate, because we have established customers," in addition to the yearly vacationers, he said. His lot, which was bought in 1994 from the former Park and Go lot, covers a space equivalent to four football fields for about 1,600 spaces for long-term and daily parking, he said. Bob Rizzo, general manager of the Ramada Inn at 76 Industrial Highway, said its Park and Jet lot can hold 1,000 vehicles.

   "I think anytime thereís an expansion of parking, it definitely would impact on our parking lot, too," Rizzo said. Although he said he couldnít project what impact the expansion would have, he estimated "we will probably drop down a percentage, but not a large percentage. I think it will have a little ripple effect, but it wonít be major."

Source - Delco Times