Envisioning the Future
Envisioning the Future
Envisioning the Future
By: Rhett Workman 1 minute read

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is poised for substantial upgrades as US Airways and American Airlines prepare to become the world's largest airline.

Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) is poised for substantial upgrades as US Airways and American Airlines prepare to become the world's largest airline. One of the airlines' major hub operations, PHL, features US Airways' newly renovated and expanded Express Terminal F. This 120,000-square-foot addition to the existing terminal and update of the remaining Terminal F facilities creates a refreshed and modern experience for US Airways customers.

Now the focus is shifting to the mainline operation in Terminals B and C. The construction for Terminal B began in the late 1950s, and the complete Terminal B/C complex opened in 1970. It was renovated in 1998 to add new food and retail outlets and to add a 25,000-square-foot US Airways Club, but little modernization has occurred in these terminals in the past 15 years.

Where to Begin?

With so many new and innovative products available to create an airport of the future, what are the key decision factors in selecting what to incorporate into a modernization program? Once the program concept is set, how does the airline ensure the program progresses on time and within budget?

The answer to both questions: technology. The new global mega-airline will develop concepts for its airport of the future after evaluating the available technology and determining what does and does not work at other airports worldwide. Then it will work with a program manager and design team to develop the concepts.

Among the options available for consideration:

  • Self check-in and self-baggage drop facilities that include a baggage drop at the parking garage
  • Holdrooms that resemble high-end lounges and restaurants with iPads at every seat
  • Consolidation security checkpoints with express lanes for pre-cleared passengers
  • State-of-the-art baggage screening system
  • A people mover system that connects Terminal B/C with the rest of the airport complex, garages and rental car facility

Seeing the Future

Visualization of conceptual design is much easier today than it was just a decade ago. Designers, aided by 3-D design software, can enable airline executives to see what the modernized terminal will look like. All user groups can better evaluate whether the plans for the upgraded facility will meet their needs. The airline will be able to share the model with all parties, including airport representatives, vendors and security officers.

Before the documents are finalized for construction, the program management/design team will identify areas where potential conflicts could disrupt schedules. Technology innovations play a further role once the design is final and construction is ready to begin. Managing a complex program amid ongoing airport operations requires tools that keep all parties up to date on schedules, milestones and changes. Burns & McDonnell's OneTouchPM® and NoTouch ReportingTM technologies (see article page 8) will help the program team maintain schedules, address challenges promptly and execute the plan.

The expected result is a transformation of the Terminal B/C complex from outdated to world-class outstanding.

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