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PHILADELPHIA-The city completed the sale of $125 million in 2005 airport revenue bonds, which will be used for the $251-million expansion and modernization of terminals D and E along with other infrastructure and security checkpoint improvements at Philadelphia International Airport. This is the third in a series and follows the sale of $41-million series B bonds and $189.5-million series C refunding bonds this June.

The newest series yielded a fixed-rate interest cost of 4.72% for the bonds’ 30-year period. During the pricing period for the two series sold in June, the initial variable rate was set at 2.65%.

Both the $125 million and $41 million will be used to fund the current project, which a spokesman for Philadelphia Airport System, tells GlobeSt.com is scheduled for completion in phases between late 2007 and early 2008. The remaining $85-million cost will come from airport revenues, he says, while the additional $189.5 million raised in June is being used to refinance debt the airport incurred in the mid-1990s.

The largest component of the project calls for construction of a food court and retail shops between the terminal D and E concourses, three new gates and a doubling of security checkpoints these terminals share to a total of 14. The size of the restaurant/retail component is not final. The airlines served by D and E include Southwest, which entered the airport in June 2004 and has been adding flights; Northwest, United, Continental and Delta.

Additional security checkpoints will be added at terminals A-east, B and C, which is served primarily by US Airways. In addition, the airport’s longest and widest runway will be resurfaced. “Bids were let in advance of the bond sale,” the spokesperson says, “so we could proceed immediately. Contractors have not yet been selected.”

Passenger traffic at the airport rose 15.6% in 2004, according to the city. Year-to-date passenger traffic is 21% above the 2004 record-level. The city owns and operates Philadelphia Airport System, which is self-sustaining through air carrier rentals and fees.

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