Lakeland Linder International Airport Terminal Improvements

Lakeland Airport screening area

Lakeland Linder International Airport Terminal Improvements

Upgrading a General Aviation Facility to Restart Commercial Service

Located in the heart of central Florida, midway between Tampa and Orlando, Lakeland Linder International Airport is launching commercial passenger service for the first time in more than a decade in the summer of 2024. Having announced an agreement with Avelo Airlines on December 18, 2023, the airport will serve the Lakeland-Winter Haven Metropolitan Statistical Area (one of the fastest growing in the United States), while also serving as a convenient secondary airport to the larger metros to its east and west.

While this news was welcomed and well received by the community, the airport needed to embark on an ambitious improvement project ensuring its facilities were ready for the start of service just 178 days later, on June 13, 2024. Under an existing general services agreement, the team at HDR was selected to lead the aggressive design effort.

In operation since 1942, LAL is a well-established airport that serves a variety of tenants and users, including Amazon Air, which operates one of its regional air cargo hubs at the airport. However, LAL’s passenger facilities had been sitting idle since 2012 following the closure of the Part 380 air charter operator that had been using the terminal. With a decade of technological advancements and design standard changes, LAL needed to upgrade its passenger terminal to accommodate modern Transportation Security Administration needs.

Lakeland Airport terminal

Of primary importance to the airport was the ability to accommodate at least two TSA security screening lanes and a solution for exit lane monitoring. With the goal in hand, along with an aggressive timeline, HDR’s team began immediate evaluation of the building’s current condition followed by intensive weekly — sometimes daily — calls with stakeholders, including the primary contractor, airport, TSA and the city’s permitting office to complete the design in a timely fashion. 

As a result, our design called for modifications to three interior walls, the relocation of power, construction of a storage and private screening room for TSA, the installation of additional data drops, and new access points to the secured area of the facility, including an automated exit lane. With the start of service looming, this work effort took place in just a matter of weeks.

Other improvements included updated aesthetic elements such as flooring and lighting, an expanded second floor conference room for administrative and training uses, and the installation of wayfinding signage. Outside the terminal, our team also worked with the airport to layout new ramp markings and provide preliminary estimates for an expanded parking lot, to include paid parking options that would help generate additional revenue for the airport.

HDR’s experienced team proved critical, completing its design in mid-March 2024 while also working through requests for information from the primary contractor. LAL is now ready to welcome visitors to the sunshine state and provide another option for the local community to access air travel. The first flight — from Lakeland to New Haven, Connecticut — took place on June 13, 2024.

Lakeland Airport gate area
Lakeland Airport screening area
City of Lakeland, Florida

Lakeland, FL
United States