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Airport Challenges, Research Paper Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1226

Research Paper

With the expansion of global air travel, many benefits as well as challenges have been realized by most airports. One of the most significant challenges in airports in the 21st century is the movement of largegroups of passengers through airport terminals. While capacity is an essential if element of this problem, there are a number of key facilities that are required for effective and efficient movement of large groups of passengers through an airport terminal.

The Challenge

Most modern airports incur considerable costs in the maintenance and management of airport terminals. As a matter of fact, it is one of the major capital expenses together with finger piers and midfield concourses. Airport managers are increasingly finding it difficult to run airport terminals efficiently. With little prospect in the construction of runways and the expansion of terminus capacity, it is essential to efficiency that large groups of passengers be moved effectively according to the set timetable.

Lighting

Lighting is an essential part of efficient moving of large groups of travelers in an airport terminal. As passengers travel long distances, most find the task of navigating a crowded airport terminal daunting. With the correct kind of lighting and lighting design, airports can considerably increase movement of large groups of people within the terminals (Leib, Dillman, Petrin, & Young, 2012). Lighting is integral in helping passengers who are unfamiliar with the organizational structure of the building. Lighting is also integral in helping highlight certain architectural elements of a terminal.

One of the most important aspects of efficient lighting is avoiding “glare bombs”; these are bright light fixtures that passengers find themselves staring into immediately after stepping off the plane. These lights are usually overly-bright and almost always florescent lighting that is usually present in departure and arrival lounges in airport terminals.

Signage

Signage is one of the most important aspects of moving large groups of passengers within an airport terminal. The more effective the signage is, the quicker the way finding for most passenger. Most international airports are faced with the challenge of processing passengers with different ethnic and national backgrounds. This provides the challenge of providing appropriate signage that can be easily and effectively translated by individuals from different ethnic and national backgrounds.

The choice of which kind and type of signage to put up in an airport terminal affects the rate at which people move through a given terminal. There are two main kinds of signage; (1) those that people prefer, and (2) those with which most people perform best (Leib, Dillman, Petrin, & Young, 2012). While some people may prefer to have certain signs provide direction through an airport terminal, it may not be the most effective. As such, airport managers may opt for the most effective sign layout that would ensure maximum amount of traffic processes efficiently within the shortest time possible.

The most effective signage layout is determined by two main factors; (1) geographic layout, and (2) visitors. The geographic layout predominantly determines the origin of most of the passengers within the given airport, i.e. nationality or ethnicity. Visitors determine the amount of cultural difference that would be present on a typical day at the airport terminal. Terminals with a considerably large number of international flights face considerable obstacles in adopting effective signage.

Ground Access Systems

The ground access systems determine the rate at which passengers will have access to all airport facilities including the air terminals. An easy travel experience guarantees that passengers would move faster within the terminal, creating an efficient passenger management system (Young & Wells, 2011). One of the most common feature of an effective ground system includes direct transportation links. Direct transportation links to downtown areas provide for an efficient way to improve passenger movement within airport terminals.

The application of intermodal transportation means at or close to the terminal considerably increases efficiency in passenger management. One of the most common and effective forms of intermodal transport exists in most European and Asian countries where there exists a train station at close to the airport terminal. A salient example would be the Oslo Airport Express that was designed for the delivery of high speed service to Oslo Airport passengers.

The quality of intermodal transport is also crucial. Most international airports have a wide array of intermodal transport forms to choose from. A good intermodal transportation mode would largely entail a direct connection to the downtown areas of the closest urban center. A direct connection allows for quick processing of arriving and departing passengers.

Terminal Designs

The most ideal terminal designs have developed over the years as airports have grown. It has become paramount to airport to ensure the application of economically sound methods to realize operations (Edwards, 2009). One of the most important tools has been the design implemented in constructing terminals. A number of designs have largely succeeded. Others have since failed while others are still in use despite their inherent flaws.

Art Deco Layout

This is the oldest layout that featured terminals that opened up to the tarmac. Passengers had to get onto a transfer bus to get to the aircraft. This design has long been abandoned by international airports but is still used in small airports.

The Pier Layout

This design featured a linear layout with planes parking on either side of the terminal and immediately at the terminal’s gate. There was one huge flaw with this design; passengers had to walk a considerably long distance from the check-in counter to the aircraft. This design still exists in moderately developed airports.

The Satellite Layout

This design features terminals that are detached from all other buildings. This allows for aircraft to park around these terminals. With the help of underground pedestrian tunnels, passengers could easily walk to the plane, considerably reducing the challenge with long-distance walking experienced with the pier layout (Horonjeff, 2010). This design is mostly used international airports.

Mobile Lounges

Mobile lounges were designed to solve the problem of passengers having to walk great distances from the point of check-in to the aircraft. Mobile lounges were “buses” that would merge with the aircraft allowing passengers to and from craft and terminal. This invention soon grew obsolete with the transformation of airport operations.

Security was one of the major reasons the concept failed. As the global threat of terrorism grew, it became unsafe to have passengers use mobile lounges (Horonjeff, 2010). Furthermore, the growing number of air travelers translated to overcrowding, this overcrowding made using the mobile lounges difficult, increasing the amount of time taken to process large groups of passengers in the airport terminals.

In conclusion, a number of terminal designs have been developed over the years. However, most have since not been used owing to the rapid changes in airport operations. As the number of air traveler’s increase with each passing year, it is crucial to airport managers that they be able to successfully process passengers within the shortest amount of time possible. Aspects such as lighting, ground access systems, signage and terminal design are crucial in the creation of an efficient passenger, management system.

References

Edwards, B. (2009). The modern airport terminal : new approaches to airport architecture. New York: Spon Press.

Horonjeff, R. (2010). Planning and design of airports. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Leib, S., Dillman, B., Petrin, D., & Young, J. P. (2012). A Comparison of the Effect of Variations to U.S. Airport Terminal Signage on the Successful Wayfinding of Chinese and American Cultural Groups. Journal of Aviation Technology and Engineering, 1(2), 79-89.

Young, S. B., & Wells, A. (2011). Airport planning and management. New York: McGraw-Hilll.

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