May 4 saw a significant moment in the history of Nashville International Airport (BNA) when a new nonstop, long-haul flight from London arrived. However, the arrival meant a rushed effort to provide a gate capable of accommodating the Dreamliner aircraft in the weeks leading up to the event. It is just the latest step in the vision to transform the airport.

The new five-times-weekly nonstop flight to London is the first time in 25 years that the two cities have been linked, and the first long-haul service at BNA for just as long, following the demise of the former American Airlines hub at the airport.

The BNA Vision, which aims to expand and modernize the airport, has gathered pace since 2017 when construction work began on the new Parking and Transportation Center and interim International Arrivals Building.

The latter officially opened in March and allows passengers on flights such as the new British Airways service to be handled more effectively until the completely new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) is built. It is the first part of the vision to be completed and included quickly preparing a new international gate to handle the new London link ahead of its launch on May 4.

This gives the airport double its previous hourly capacity for international passengers.

"Our upgraded interim International Arrivals Building expands our ability to serve international passengers flying to Nashville, whether from the United Kingdom, Mexico, the Caribbean, or elsewhere," said Doug Kreulen, Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority president and CEO. "It was built with convenience in mind and will significantly improve and expedite the process for passengers until our permanent, state-of-the-art International Arrivals Facility opens in 2023."

Whilst no additional international routes have been announced, the airport is understandably working hard to secure more growth in this area. The interim building means it is ready to handle any opportunity that comes along while the new IAF is constructed.

Speaking of the new service, Kreulen said, "One non-stop flight like this will tend to generate between $70 and $100 million in additional business."

Additional works which come under the umbrella of the BNA Vision include:

  • Six-story parking and transportation center.
  • New on-site hotel.
  • A spacious terminal lobby.
  • Expanded ticketing and baggage areas.
  • Additional security screening lanes.
  • New concourse, plus retail and dining options.
  • Additional airline gates.
  • A multi-modal transit connector.

Most will be completed by 2023 if the project stays on track, with passengers urged to be patient with the airport as it transitions and expands, believing it will be worth it in the end.

BNA is keen to impress passengers with its plans and has provided a 3-D model and 360-degree virtual in its ticketing lobby, where the future shape of the airport can be discovered. The whole project is laid out at