Greg Gillis, property manager for Southwest Airlines, said the new plan does just that. "We're not gutting" the old plan, said Gillis. "We are tying to make the master plan more affordable."
The scaled-down plan being reviewed for the next 45 days is the brainchild of a group of 41 consultants, airline and airport staff, as well as San Jose city legal, planning and other staffers. The group met privately for three days last month to craft a new plan.
With a unanimous consensus rarely seen in San Jose airport politics, the group voted to scrap some of the more ambitious elements in the former master plan.
The former expansion plan depended on issuing bonds that are supported by fees the airport collects from airlines, as well as revenue from parking, concessions and other sources. The new plan will do the same, based on lower assumptions for passenger growth and airline fee contributions. Sherry said he also hopes to procure federal grants.
The group suggested the city forge ahead with a $355 million plan to build the showcase-like, two-story North Concourse, complete with its fancy sail-shaped exterior. That concourse, which could be complete by mid-2008, Sherry said, would contain up to 11 airline gates. That would help pave the way for the city to shut the current 14-gate Terminal C, something the panel suggested be done "the sooner the better" because of its operating and maintenance costs, he said.
The panel also recommended expanding the ticketing and security screening area of the 15-gate Terminal A, the current home of Southwest and American Airlines, to ease current passenger crowding and delays in the 10-year-old terminal.
So far, the city has spent more than $150 million on projects in the original master plan, including some plane runway and taxiway improvements and laying the foundation for the North Concourse.
"It's our belief that none of the construction money that's been expended has been wasted," said Sherry.