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Build and grow


Despite today’s tough operating climate, airports continue to invest in new infrastructure to enhance their capabilities. Joe Bates takes a closer look at some of the most exciting recent developments.

Recent announcements about a number of potentially game-changing infrastructure development projects in Europe, North America, Asia and the Middle East shows that despite the continued devastating impact of COVID-19 on global traffic levels, faith remains in the long-term future of aviation.

Projects in the pipeline include the multi-million dollar revamp and expansion of Helsinki Airport in Finland and a state-of-the-art International Arrivals Facility at Seattle-Tacoma and new $1.5 billion main terminal at Portland International Airport in the USA.

Elsewhere, Dublin Airport in Ireland is planning a major facelift for Terminal 1; the future operators of India’s new Delhi Noida International Airport have unveiled the designs for its new terminal; and developers in Saudi Arabia have revealed the stunning designs for a new Red Sea gateway.

The projects follow the respective December 2020 and January 2021 openings of new terminals at Bermuda’s LF Wade International Airport and Bahrain International Airport in the Gulf state.

While in Serbia, Belgrade’s Nikola Tesla Airport has opened a new-look central terminal area and London City Airport in the UK has completed the construction of a full-length parallel taxiway and eight new stands capable of handling larger and more fuel-efficient aircraft.

In London City’s case, its parallel runway taxiway and aircraft stands have been built on a new 70,000sqm concrete deck created by drilling 1,000 piles of concrete 20 metres below the waterbed of London’s King George V Dock. The project, notes the airport, was one of the most challenging and complex civil engineering and inland marine construction projects in Western Europe.

In this article we turn the spotlight on Bahrain’s new terminal and the planned developments in Helsinki, Seattle-Tacoma, Dublin and Delhi.

Take-off for Bahrain’s new terminal

Bahrain International Airport (BIA) celebrated a major milestone on January 28 when its eagerly awaited new $1.1 billion terminal opened for business.

The new state-of-the-art facility is a key element of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030 and is expected to transform air travel to the Gulf state by providing the airport with the facilities that will allow it take operational efficiency and customer service standards to new levels.

Spanning 210,000sqm, the new facility is four times larger than the airport’s old terminal and will increase BIA’s capacity to 14 million passengers a year.

Its facilities include eight baggage reclaim belts; 104 check-in counters; 36 passport control offices; a total of 20 e-gates for arrivals and departures; a 4,780sqm Departures Hall; 6,600sqm Arrivals Hall and 10,002sqm of retail space.

Its duty free area is three times larger than in the old terminal and offers 30 new top brands in Bahrain for the first time.

The new terminal – the key project of BIA’s Airport Modernization Program (AMP) – also features its own hotel and spa for transit passengers and a airport clinic where a dedicated team of healthcare professionals will be on hand around-the-clock to provide medical services to visitors.

Fittingly, a Gulf Air flight to Abu Dhabi with Bahrain’s Minister of Transportation and Telecommunications and chairman of Bahrain Airport Company (BAC), His Excellency, Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed, and BAC CEO, Mohamed Yousif Al Binfalah, on board, was the first flight to depart from the new terminal.

HE Kamal bin Ahmed Mohammed said: “Through the provision of world-class facilities and services and backed by robust infrastructure, the new airport will sustain the growth of Bahrain’s aviation sector for decades to come.

“This, in turn, will help drive investment into the Kingdom and stimulate national economic growth in line with Bahrain’s Vision 2030.”

Revamp and expansion of Helsinki’s Terminal 2

The ongoing renovation and expansion of Helsinki Airport is the biggest development project in the airport’s history, which when complete in 2024, will ensure that it is capable of handling up to 30 million passengers annually.

According to Finnish airport operator, Finavia, the renovation work will completely revamp 35,000sqm in the existing Departures and Arrivals halls as well as integrate them into the gate area and centralised baggage claim hall.

While the existing terminal is being expanded by 42,000sqm allowing for the construction of an impressive new entrance and easier access for passengers to the airport’s public transport and car parks via a weather-protected passageway linking it with Ring Rail Line, new P1 and P2 parking garages and new bus docks.

And like Nashville International Airport (See page 12), the airport has opted to accelerate the timing of the €1 billion upgrade to take advantage of the opportunity to carry out the bulk of the building work while operating at a reduced capacity.

“We are able to start the renovation work one year in advance, as the number of passengers and flights has decreased significantly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this way, passengers will also be able to enjoy the new facilities earlier than planned,” says Tuomo Lindstedt, Finavia’s T2 extension project manager.

Finavia notes that the development programme also includes an expansion of Terminal 1 and the expansion of the terminal section serving long-haul traffic, or non-Schengen traffic.

Altogether the development programme will add an extra 103,000sqm of floor space to ensure that the airport is equipped with 250,000sqm of terminal space by 2024.

The expansion of Terminal 2 and the new entrance to the airport was designed by ALA Architects. The working group also included HKP Architects and Ramboll Finland.

Sea-Tac’s new International Arrivals Facility

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s much anticipated new International Arrivals Facility (IAF) is due to open this year.

The IAF programme includes three new elements: A 450,000-square-foot Grand Hall for baggage claim and customs processing, an 85-foot-high aerial walkway that will directly connect it to the South Satellite, and a new international corridor connecting arriving international passengers on Concourse A.

Supporting projects to expand power, fibre optic technology and high-efficiency baggage services will significantly speed-up processing during peak international arrival periods.

Commenting on the improvements for international passengers, Ron Peck, the Port of Seattle’s director of international tourism development, noted: “We are building a new, expanded International Arrivals Facility (IAF) at SEA to significantly enhance the international passenger experience and advance the Puget Sound region as a leading tourism and business gateway.

“With these new facilities, we will have the capacity to serve the travelling public well into the future.

“This is the largest capital development programme in the history of the 71-year-old airport and it will significantly improve the arrival process for international passengers to accommodate Seattle’s growing demand for international travel.”

In a separate development project, the airport has also hired The Miller Hull Partnership and Woods Bagot as joint project design leaders to create a dynamic, performative and sustainable facility expansion of Concourse C.

According to Woods Bagot, diversity, performance, sense of place and sustainability are the driving design principles behind the expansion project, which is due for completion in 2027.

Bold new look for Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1

Dublin Airport’s Terminal 1 is to undergo a major facelift, which will see its core façade and roof replaced with a new modern, energy efficient structure that the Irish gateway says will transform the facility’s external appearance and give it a new visual identity.

The existing concrete fins, which are near the end of their life and need to replaced, will make way for a combination of glass and solid panels to create a fresh look for T1 that will improve the overall visual appearance of the airport campus.

The planned works to the façade follow a major upgrade to both the Departures and Arrivals areas of Terminal 1 in recent years.

New floors and lighting were installed and both areas were reconfigured to introduce more natural light to the building.

“Terminal 1 has been at the heart of Dublin Airport since 1972 and has welcomed more than 450 million passengers during 48 years of use,” says the airport’s managing director, Vincent Harrison.

“These works are part of an overall programme to ensure that T1 can continue to successfully serve Ireland for many decades to come.

“While passenger traffic had been hit by the impact of COVID-19, as custodians of Dublin Airport on behalf of the State, daa must always take a prudent long-term view in relation to managing the facility. As certain elements of T1 are approaching the end of their life, it makes sense to seek planning permission now for these works, which will be carried out over the coming years.”

As part of the project, planning permission has also been sought to repurpose the top two floors of Terminal 1 as airport offices, which were originally designed as a multi-storey car park.

The designs for the T1 facelift project, drafted by Atkins, are currently lodged with Fingal County Council.

Carlos Muriel, Atkins’ lead architect, commented: “Our proposal gives T1 a new identity that is based on a deep understanding of the historical transformation that the airport has experienced during the last 50 years and Dublin Airport’s ambition to become a highly-sustainable and energy efficient campus.

“The design addresses the challenges of the present and future, whilst being respectful to the past.”

Responding to daa’s sustainability agenda, the changes will generate a significant improvement in the terminal’s energy efficiency, as it will move the upgraded elements of the building from their current BER rating of F to B3.

Delhi’s green new gateway

India’s planned new Delhi Noida International Airport will boast a passenger terminal designed by architects Grimshaw, Nordic – Office of Architecture, Haptic and Indian practice STUP.

The team was selected from a shortlist of three for “demonstrating a proficiency in balancing passenger comfort with sustainability, and timeless design with flexibility for future needs”.

The winning design (seen below) is said to “Merge Swiss efficiency and Indian hospitality to create a modern and seamless passenger experience that will set new benchmarks in sustainability for airport terminal buildings in India”.

It is claimed that the concept creates a future airport city by envisaging green spaces inside and around the building, and flexible expansion options with capacity to serve up to 50 million passengers per annum by 2037.

Andrew Thomas, a partner at Grimshaw, said: “Our design will provide the best possible experience for passenger and staff while focusing on the key issues in aviation today, such as passenger flows, digital services and rigorous carbon minimisation targets.”

Once complete, Delhi Noida International Airport will serve the fast-developing industrial region between Delhi and Agra, and its investment will support the Indian government and Uttar Pradesh through infrastructure development and job creation.

Grimshaw notes: “In a country that is already pushing the boundaries for sustainable aviation infrastructure, the project aspires to achieve LEED Gold standard and to operate at Carbon Net Zero.

“Design proposals include an internal landscaped courtyard deep within the terminal plan delivering ventilation, daylight, and an enhanced passenger experience.

“Externally, a new landscaped forecourt will create a regional destination for the public, staff and passengers with an unforgettable sense of place.”

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