Before you get to the ticket counter for your next flight out of the Greenville-Spartanburg Airport, you'll notice things are a little different.  Depending on when you fly again, the baggage claim area may be under construction or you could notice new dining options before and after security.

WINGSPAN, a $115 million program, will affect not only frequent flyers, but also the Upstate region by using local contractors and vendors and attracting new businesses with continued growth.  "During the WINGSPAN program, local income is projected to increase by $59.6 with the total economic impact in the community projected to reach $164.1 million," said GSP President and CEO Dave Edwards. "To meet these projections, the GSP Airport District is committed to using as many local businesses as possible during the construction process."

With careful planning, GSP is able to implement WINGSPAN with no cost to local taxpayers. Eighty percent of the program is funded by airport funds, while the Federal Aviation Administration's (FAA) Airport Improvement Program Fund and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are funding the remaining twenty percent.

The project focuses on complementing the historic features of GSP, such as the airside garden and water features, while allowing for newer sustainability practices, including heating water with solar power, increasing the natural lighting to reduce electrical requirements, and collecting rain water to reduce the dependency on city water systems.

Each element of the improved airport was selected to better serve customers:

*    A one-stop Rental Car Customer Center has already been completed and is now open inside Garage A.

*    New food, beverage, and retail options will be available throughout the terminal and before the TSA checkpoints.

*    The two TSA checkpoints will be consolidated into a single checkpoint for access to both concourses after screening.

*    Canopies will offer coverage at the terminal loading areas and walkways from parking garages.

*    A third baggage carousel will mean less congestion in the baggage claim area.

*    Business travelers will be able to take advantage of new public meeting and conference spaces inside the North wing.

"Once the WINGSPAN program is completed GSP will be well positioned for growth.  Our new space is being designed to accommodate up to 4 million total passengers on an annual basis.  That number is more than double the 1.8 million passengers who traveled to and from GSP in 2012," Edwards said.

The four-year project is scheduled for completion in early to mid-2016. For more details about WINGSPAN, visit

*Photos provided by Rosylin Weston of GSP International Airport.

Jamie Gillenwater works as a technical communication consultant for Transcend Text, LLC. Her writing focuses on her Upstate community, technical communication, and corporate training. She serves as the chairperson for Connect Young Professionals, is an active member of the Society for Technical Communication's Carolina chapter, and participates in the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce Women's Leadership Council.