It often makes more economic sense to renovate existing facilities than design and construct a new terminal. With the same desired result, renovating can open up space in a terminal to create more passenger flow or more retail space to generate additional revenue.
In today’s economy, airlines and airports no longer have the deep pockets to undertake design and construction of new terminal facilities when they can renovate existing facilities at a significantly lower cost — with the same desired outcome.
Opening up facilities to create more passenger flow or more retail space to generate additional revenue is key to a successful renovation project. Looking at opportunities to create multiple-use areas also enables more efficient use of space, eliminating the need for new structures. Using technology to keep passengers informed and moving efficiently completes the positive experience.
Many older terminals have low ceilings, small holdrooms and narrow halls. These holdrooms have large podiums for customer service and boarding that take up substantial floor space, causing the rooms to feel even smaller. Eliminating the large podiums and back walls and installing electronic signs mounted on ceilings or walls can open up the holdrooms, increase seating area and improve the customer experience. Using gate scanners for check-in podiums can reduce the size of the millwork required by more than 50 percent. Repairing rather than replacing holdroom seating can also produce substantial project savings.
For airports with international flights, special security restrictions often require modifications to holdrooms or gate areas. Flights to Israel are a good example. Secondary screening is required for any flight entering Israel. Passengers must be screened and secured in the holdroom until the aircraft is ready to board. Converting a holdroom to accommodate the additional screening could make the area uncomfortable for other flights as passengers would be unable to exit the holdroom without re-entering through security.
In Philadelphia, Burns & McDonnell designed a sliding wall system for US Airways that secures the holdroom for Tel Aviv flights but allows the holdroom to be opened up for other flights and operations. This multiuse gate design saves time and money for the airline and preserves a positive passenger experience for all flights.
New technologies and computer-savvy passengers have made it possible to accomplish renovations and modifications without significant building changes. Curbside kiosks for check-in, scanner devices at holdrooms and efficient flight information display systems make the experience positive for passengers, airlines and airports.