CHICAGO (July 22, 2016) — Burns & McDonnell representatives joined Chicago Department of Aviation (CDA) officials this week in welcoming the arrival of the first commercial A380 flight at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport. As part of a major expansion effort, the group inaugurated a newly built A380 gate area specifically designed to accommodate the world’s largest passenger aircraft. The opening ceremony culminated an effort assisted by Burns & McDonnell to equip O’Hare’s International Terminal 5 with a gate area capable of serving large aircraft, while meeting stringent requirements for budget, schedule and minimal disruption to airport operations.
“Our team responded immediately to help the airport meet the rapid deadline,” says Bret Pilney, vice president for the Aviation Group at Burns & McDonnell. “We have designed similar A380 aircraft gate upgrades at several other U.S. airports and we drew upon that experience to design the right solution for the O’Hare project. Delivering the project on the airport’s tight timeline became the overriding driver making it a top priority for our firm.”
The CDA selected the Aviation Group at Burns & McDonnell to provide planning, design and construction administration of the $4.8 million A380 gate project. The centerpiece of the project is two reconfigured gates including expansive passenger bridges to allow travelers to swiftly board and deplane the aircraft.
One of the project’s biggest challenges was managing the renovation of a central gate inside the terminal without disrupting daily air traffic schedules at one of the world’s busiest airports. The CDA reports that through May of this year, the international volume at O’Hare is over 4 million passengers.
Burns & McDonnell worked closely with CDA to coordinate simultaneous construction efforts, including pavement and underground utilities, terminal building reconfigurations, passenger boarding bridges and fixed walkways, and installation of preconditioned air (PCA) and 400 Hz electrical power.
“Our goal was to be highly considerate of the passenger experience and airline operations,” says Brian Quinlan, who is a project manager with the Aviation Group with Burns & McDonnell. “The beauty of this design is its function and efficiency. Multiple bridges will allow over 500 passengers to get on and off these massive planes with ease.”
Engineering News-Record ranks Burns & McDonnell among the top three design firms in transportation for airports.
“We are very excited about the future of O’Hare Airport,” says Yvonne Bilshausen, senior project manager with the Aviation Group at Burns & McDonnell. “We are constantly developing innovative solutions to help our clients take the air travel experience to a whole new level.”
Burns & McDonnell partnered with a comprehensive team on the A380 project that included CCJM, Rubinos & Mesia Engineers, J.A. Watts, Gensler, Gregory Ramon Design Studio, CCS, S.A.M. Consultants and TransSolutions.
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