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New infrastructure: Building back better


Airport World turns the spotlight on a handful of infrastructure development projects currently taking shape or being planned across the globe.

New terminal for Kumasi Airport in Ghana

Kumasi International Airport’s new terminal is on target to open in October, 2022, and may even handle its first flights in August, if news reports from Ghana are to be believed.

British steel company, John Reid & Sons (REIDsteel) provided design, steel fabrication and supervision services for the ‘ultra-modern’ new terminal, which will initially be equipped to handle up to 800,000 passengers per annum.

REIDsteel manufactured the steel structure in the UK before shipping all the component parts more than 3,300 miles to Ghana.

It also provided the roofing system to comply with a specific noise and thermal reduction specification and the high-specification glazing, including ‘statement’ curtain-walling for the elevations of the building with solar controls to withstand extreme sunlight and temperatures.

The 12,500sqm terminal is the key project in Ghana Airport Company Limited’s €125 million upgrade of the airport.

REIDsteel commercial director, Tim Cook, said: “It is a privilege to be involved in such a landmark development which will help transform the region, boost the local economy, help open up this region of Ghana to international travel and place Kumasi on the map as one of the premier international aviation hubs in west Africa.

“The terminal has an ultra-modern design and is looking stunning already. The finished development will be among the newest and most state-of-the-art in Africa.”

The redevelopment, which is being built by Contracta Construction UK Limited, also includes car parking, roads and an extension of the runway from 1,981 metres to 2,300 metres to allow it to accommodate larger aircraft.

In facts and figures, the construction of the terminal involved the use of 350 tonnes of steel, 7,000sqm of roofing and 3,500sqm of glass, with the largest glazing units weighing more than 300kg each.

San Antonio’s new Terminal C

San Antonio International Airport’s new Terminal C is a step closer to reality following the news that Corgan has been approved to provide planning services for the Terminal Development Program and its enabling projects.

The international architecture and design firm’s services will lay the groundwork for Terminal C, which is expected to be completed by 2028.

Corgan and its project partners – which include San Antonio’s Lake Flato Architects and airport/transportation planners from Kimley-Horn – will develop the Program Definition Manual (PDM) which will be used as the basis for the new facility.

In terms of its involvement in the project, Corgan’s services include architectural concept design for key components of the Terminal Development Program that will allow environmental reviews to begin immediately.

Corgan notes that a top priority for its team is to ensure that visitors know that they are landing in San Antonio and not any generic airport.

“The San Antonio region has a rich history and diverse culture, and the airport’s passengers deserve a quality experience that embraces this sense of place,” said Corgan principal, John Trupiano.

“We will be creating memorable, positive brand equity while enhancing the functionality and operations. We are excited to bring our people-centric design principles to this project.”

The contract will serve as the kick-off for the new Terminal C facility and its enabling projects, with Corgan’s services allowing environmental work to begin earlier than projected when the City Council approved the Strategic Development Plan in November 2021.

“Planning for the continued growth and demand in the San Antonio region continues to be our focus,” said Jesus Saenz, director of airports at the San Antonio Airport System.

“This firm is committed to assisting us in making important decisions now that will allow us to stay on schedule and budget throughout the next five years.”

Zurich Airport’s new Dock A

Zurich Airport’s planned new Dock A will be largely built from locally sourced wood, which according to the Swiss gateway will set new standards in terms of the sustainable development of terminal buildings.

The airport has chosen to go with an innovative design by the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) with the support of HOK, 10:8 Architekten, engineer Buro Happold, timber experts, Pirmin Jung, and aviation consultant, NACO.

The new Dock A will boast Schengen and Non-Schengen gates, airside retail, lounges, offices, a new air traffic control tower and an extension of the immigration hall.

“The ‘Raumfachwerk’ [space framework] proposal was the most impressive in terms of sustainability, operations and the economic aspects, but also from an urban planning and architectural point of view,” says Andreas Schmid, chairman of the Board of Directors of Flughafen Zürich AG.

“The name says it all: Space and structure get fully integrated and result in a highly functional and flexible design. The backbone of the project is formed by a structure that is not just load bearing, but defines and adapts the space, creates a unique atmosphere, and provides a distinctive identity true to its place and era.”

Located adjacent to the existing Airside Center and Terminal 1, the new Dock A will be built predominantly from sustainable wood on the passenger levels, which operator, Flughafen Zürich AG, says is unique for a terminal building of this size.

It notes that the whole surface of the new dock’s roof and the dock base will be used for photovoltaics, covering around two thirds of the dock’s annual electricity requirement, making a major contribution to the airport’s ambitious CO2 reduction strategy.

BIG’s founder and director, Bjarke Ingels, says: “For Zurich Airport’s new Dock A, we tried to meet the complex global challenge of CO2 reduction with the simplest possible solution: A space framework made of solid timber that is structure, spatial experience, architectural design and organising principle all in one.

“The simple yet expressive design – rooted in tradition and committed to innovation – embodies the cultural and natural elements of Swiss architecture.”

Construction of the new Dock A project, which has a price tag of around €712 million, is set to start in 2030.

Helsinki Airport to centralise key operations in a single terminal

Finnish airport operator, Finavia, has centralised the check-in, security controls and baggage claim activities into a single terminal at Helsinki Airport.

“We are turning over a new leaf in the history of Helsinki Airport, as departing and returning passengers will henceforth be served in our new, magnificent terminal,” enthuses airport director, Ulla Lettijeff.

“Passengers will no longer need to think about which terminal they will arrive at or depart from at Helsinki Airport.”

With a single terminal, Finavia believes that getting around the airport will also become easier for those who meet or escort passengers.

It is now possible, for example, for cars and taxis to drive directly in front of the main doors to drop off passengers.

There is lift access from the train station and the new parking garage P1/P2 to the terminal. The other car parks and the short-term parking for people picking up passengers are also just a few minutes’ walk from the main doors of the terminal. The bus station and the bike parking area are also right in front of the entrance doors to the terminal.

Terminals 1 and 2 and the corridor connecting them will be taken out of use. The old departure and arrivals halls will be closed and converted into passenger and staff areas.

“The last time Helsinki Airport operated in one terminal was almost 30 years ago. At that time, the terminal in use was the first actual passenger terminal that opened in 1969 and was later expanded in 1983,” says Lettijeff.

“Our nearly 10-year development programme is nearing completion. Work at Helsinki Airport will be finished next year, when a new baggage claim hall will be put into service.”

Lettijeff adds that the new facilities put Helsinki Airport in a strong position to build on the achievement of becoming carbon neutral five years ago. “Our climate work continues. Next, we are aiming for zero emissions,” she says.

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