In October 2019, SFO embarked on a major project to renumber all gates with hundreds of signs across two international terminals, boarding areas, parking garages, taxiways and Air Train platforms from a numeric to an alpha-numeric system. Following in the footsteps of Chicago, Newark and Dallas, SFO will now allow visitors to know just how far they have to walk to get to their gate once they exit security as the new system numbers gates based on their distance from security checkpoints.
Planning and executing this massive a change in signage across an entire, very busy international airport is a complex challenge. General Contractor Fisher Development brought in Priority Graphics to work with SFO in March 2019, well ahead of the deadline for the new airport signage implementation on October 16th. A team of 20 project managers, field managers, coordinators and installers from Priority then worked over a 24-hour period from 8PM to 8AM on October 15th and October 16th to install hundreds of new cut vinyl and aluminum lettered signs across airport venues.
This airport signage project involved intricate pre-planning, extensive coordination and careful choreography across a wide group of stakeholders to avoid disruptions to passenger traffic and SFO’s guest experience. Each gate had to be changed over in a narrow window based upon when the last plane departed and the first plane arrived the following day. One of the most difficult challenges was the signage in the Custom and Border Patrol areas which could only be changed-out in a two-hour window between 2 and 4 AM and required clearances with Homeland Security, TSA and other SFO security personnel.
Some signs were prepared and installed 2-8 weeks ahead of time with coverings which streamlined efficiency on “the day of” by requiring only a “reveal” when the appropriate moment came to host the new signage. Priority also created a just-in-time production “war room” at SFO to address the need to manufacture last minute, any signs which had escaped the legacy signage inventory survey.
“SFO is a
longstanding client of Priority Graphics and this was definitely one of our
most complex projects yet for the airport. We are proud to have helped achieve
a big step forward for them with this new system, helping passengers get to
where they need to be going faster and easier,” notes Maria Santana, VP of
In March 2020, Priority Graphics will once again be back at SFO assisting with the launch of the new Terminal 1.