Maldives Airports Company unveils first phase of VIP terminal at Velana Airport

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Lounge operations have commenced at Velana International Airport’s new Maamahi Executive Lounge, following the completion of phase one of the VIP terminal building.

The four-storey VIP terminal facility is being developed as a two-phase project with world-renowned architect, Yuji Yamazaki. Designed to deliver a luxurious experience encapsulating the spirit and style of the Maldives, the interior design was overseen by AECOM while Beijing Urban Construction Group was tasked with construction.

Phase one of the VIP terminal is housed on the ground floor and is dedicated to VVIP services. It is approximately 3,200 sq m and once the total project is complete it will provide 6,800 sq m of space.

The second phase of the project will see two more floors being developed with construction work due to start in early 2022. Services on these two floors will be dedicated to VIP customers.

JetBlue Airways to manage terminal construction project at Fort Lauderdale Airport

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Broward County Aviation Department has appointed JetBlue Airways to manage the construction of a five-gate US$300m passenger terminal at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL) in Florida, US.

The new facility is part of the airport’s master plan to provide much needed growth in terminal gates in response to airline and passenger demand. To deliver programme management services for the development of Terminal 5, JetBlue Airways has contracted Parsons Corporation. The aviation infrastructure provider has contributed to the planning, design and management of more than 450 airports around the world.

“Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is one of the fastest-recovering US airports, with passenger traffic approaching 2019 pre-pandemic levels,” said Peter Torrellas, president, connected communities, for Parsons. “As we continue a return to air travel, it is critical for airports and airlines alike to prepare for passenger and service expansion. Our aviation experts have served South Florida for more than 20 years and we look forward to building on that legacy in partnership with JetBlue and the Broward County Aviation Department.”

Airport Dimensions and AMBAAR Lounge expand network in Brazil

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Following the successful opening of the first AMBAAR Club Lounge at Viracopos International Airport at the end of 2021, Airport Dimensions and VIP lounge operator AMBAAR Lounge have opened two further lounges in Brazil at Fortaleza Airport (FOR) and Porto Alegre Airport (POA).

The AMBAAR Club POA combines high-quality design with a host of facilities to make the travel experience more relaxing and convenient. Private rooms for calls and meetings will be complemented by an exclusive coffee bar area, buffet and cocktail bar. The lounge design has been inspired by local themes of the surrounding Rio Grande do Sul area, with an emphasis on wood and leather with highlights in rich shades of red, yellow and green that reflect the state’s flag. The result is a space that evokes the cosy environment of a country house typical of the mountain cities found in the state.

Meanwhile the new facility at FOR pays homage to the culture of Brazil’s north-eastern Ceará state. Carefully considered details such as a vibrant colour scheme provide a warm and welcoming ambience, while hammocks and strategic lighting recreate the city’s relaxing beaches and the balmy north-eastern Brazilian sun.

Both lounges will operate from 6am to 10pm, offering a range of seating options, children’s play areas and private booths, as well as an extensive selection of local and internationally inspired food and beverages.

Sabine Trenk, COO of Fraport Brasil, said: “The opening of these two new environments in Porto Alegre and Fortaleza raises the standard of services offered at our airports. The partnership with a qualified company and a reference in VIP rooms, such as AMBAAR Lounge, brings quality and professionalism to the experiences we offer to our passengers.”

As well as entering the South American travel market for the first time with AMBAAR Club, Airport Dimensions has been bolstering its position in the US and the UK with projects that have included the acquisition of the No1 Lounges business, with Airport Dimensions now operating nine No1 Lounge spaces at London Heathrow, London Gatwick and Birmingham airports. The company also recently expanded its award-winning The Club brand with a new opening at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and is set to launch another at Charlotte Douglas International Airport early this year. In addition, Airport Dimensions announced last year a partnership with JPMorgan Chase, which will introduce Chase Sapphire Lounge by The Club, with locations already in development.

VolkerFitzpatrick awarded runway refurb contrat for Gloucestershire Airport

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Gloucestershire Airport has appointed VolkerFitzpatrick, one of the UK’s leading engineering and construction companies, to deliver a Civil Aviation Authority (CCA) approved upgrade to Gloucestershire Airport in 2022.

The work will be carried out in four phases, with the primary focus being the resurfacing of the crosswind and main runways. There will also be new runway lighting and upgrades to signage and drainage, as well as the installation of below ground infrastructure in readiness for a new radar system.

One of the airport’s three runways will remain open while works are carried out, albeit operating at reduced capacity. When all work is complete, the airport’s existing ‘north/south’ runway will permanently close to make way for the development of the new business park, CGX Connect.

Starting in January 2022, the first phase will see the crosswind runway resurfaced with work taking place through the night to avoid any disruption to operations. Phases two and three will follow in Spring 2022, with work taking place during the day and throughout the night. This phase will see the resurfacing of the main runway, new runway lighting installed, upgrades to signage and draining, and the installation of below ground infrastructure.

Phase four will be the testing and commissioning phase of the project in readiness for anticipated completion and resumption of normal operations by Summer 2022.

“We’re well versed in working on projects like this, having completed similar works at Glasgow, Birmingham and Gatwick Airports. These upgrades will place Gloucestershire Airport firmly at the top end of aviation standards and technology, which will help unlock numerous opportunities and benefits for the airport and surrounding area,” commented Kevin Berry, VolkerFitzpatrick Operations Director.

“These are transformational times for Gloucestershire Airport,” continued Karen Taylor, Gloucestershire Airport Managing Director. “These upgrades are essential to the continued smooth running of operations and, along with CGX Connect, will really elevate the quality and status of the airport, along with its profile as a ‘gateway for growth’ for all those significant developments being brought forward across the region.

Ridge & Partners LLP will work alongside VolkerFitzpatrick, providing project and commercial management services for the runway upgrade. Justin Wright, Senior Project Manager at Ridge & Partners LLP explained how the work will be carried out.

Henderson leads the charge on Kansas City’s $1.5bn airport project

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Building systems design firm, Henderson Engineers, is leading the charge on cementing the new $1.5 billion single terminal Kansas City International Airport (MCI).

Henderson’s array of building systems design services includes acoustics, audio-video, electrical, fire alarm, mechanical and plumbing. The firm is also working closely with project partner Siemens to equip MCI with innovative technology for a cutting-edge experience for both passengers and the airport’s operations team.

Having designed the technological infrastructure that enables features including touchless kiosks, intuitive display systems and video walls and visual paging boards for passengers, Henderson’s mission is to make it easier for passengers to navigate through the facility. James Dietz, Aviation Practice Director at Henderson Engineers, commented: “A key advantage we bring to the table at MCI is more than 50 years of expertise in design and construction. We help merge wonderful ideas from various partners and make sure they’re constructable and that they work together both aesthetically and functionally.”

Henderson is also helping with the planning and coordination of the installation of biometric equipment, which will enable passengers to use facial recognition as boarding passes during check in and boarding for international flights.

Dietz explained that safety is also a key touchpoint with Henderson using 3D BIM software to determine the best placement for security cameras, to minimise blind spots at the expansive 1,000 000 sq. ft. terminal. “Convenience, well-being and safety are front and centre of the work we’re undertaking, and we believe it will resonate well with the passengers and airport staff once the terminal opens in early 2023,” he noted.

To evaluate what cameras would capture at various locations throughout the terminal, engineers used a virtual replica of the facility. In addition, Henderson is collaborating with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) throughout the selection and installation process for security systems to ensure the terminal is equipped with state-of-the-art safety technology.

Once completed MCI will need to transition smoothly away from its current outdated three-terminal layout to the new single terminal with airport operations remaining functional during this process. To ensure the smoothest possible transition, Henderson collaborated with SITA to design a virtualised IT network that will prevent interruptions to security and other vital systems.

“Virtually every design that is going into this project has an eye toward the future,” said Dietz. “We’re making sure it’s innovative now but can easily be updated as technology evolves and in case the requirements surrounding airline travel are updated. This flexibility will help keep MCI at the forefront of travel for decades to come.”

Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) is the lead architect and Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate is the developer of the new single terminal Kansas City Airport.

Seattle Airport unveils concourse modernisation project

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Seattle-Tacoma International Airport(SEA Tacoma) has opened its new N Concourse, known as the North Satellite Modernisation Project. The opening took place on 4 November with the airport debuting its first-ever art and cultural festival. A dedicated performance stage hosted live music performances, a poetry reading and spoken word.

“This event celebrates the natural and cultural richness of the Pacific Northwest,” said Port of Seattle Commission President, Fred Felleman. “The building embodies our values of creating economic opportunities in an inclusive and environmentally responsible manner.”

The airport’s newly renovated N Concourse – by Design Architect Fentress Architects and Architect of Record AECOM with construction company, Hensel Phelps – features modern amenities, seismic upgrades, sustainable features and improved building function.

Fentress Architects’s Principal in Charge of Design, Curtis Fentress, said the N Concourse, which took four years to complete, is now “emblematic of the Pacific Northwest, its majestic sights and sounds. Every element of the design works in concert to orient travellers, as it greets visitors and welcomes home residents.”

Passengers will benefit from a brighter, bolder space with more dining and retail options, as well as a diverse art collection that reflects the culture, spirit and history of the region, nature inspired design and a brand-new performance stage.

The concourse also features 10 new passenger gates, an impressive Alaska Airlines Lounge and to demonstrate the sustainability of the project the airport’s first system to collect and reuse rainwater. Rainwater captured from the roof is used to flush toilets, which will save 2.8 million gallons of potable water annually, the equivalent of 4.5 Olympic-sized swimming pools. In addition, 20,000 tonnes of construction waste was recycled and thus diverted from landfills, and nearly $21m of recycled materials were used on the project. Energy efficient LED lighting, heating and cooling methods save approximately 1.7 million kWh annually, which is equal to the annual energy usage of 170 homes.

Sheltair marks milestone in $26m hangar and office expansion at Tampa Airport

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As part of a multimillion-dollar investment to serve the needs of private aviation customers travelling to or from Tampa International Airport in Florida, Sheltair has hosted a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the start of its construction of a new 100,000 sq. ft. hangar and office expansion at Tampa International Airport (TPA). The $26 million project aims to meet the growing needs of aircraft operators in the area, which Sheltair TPA’s award-winning FBO services will also support.

“As a third-generation family business committed to investing in our communities while focusing on meeting and exceeding the needs of the general aviation industry,” said Sheltair President Lisa Holland. “This new hangar development is testimony to that extraordinary commitment which will add 150 temporary full-time jobs while supporting a vibrant region of commerce and culture.”

The four new state-of-the-art hangars will range from 14,562 to 33,269 sq. ft. each with build-to-suit office spaces and the ability to accommodate large-cabin class size aircraft such as the G650 or Global 7500.

Tenants using the facility will also benefit from Sheltair’s state-of-the-art FBO featuring a 29-foot arrival canopy. The FBO also offers access to 24-hour US customs and executive boardrooms and is situated minutes from downtown Tampa and the Raymond James Stadium.

“The growth of general aviation and private aircraft operations has been one of the success stories of the past few years, even throughout the pandemic,” said Tampa Airport CEO, Joe Lopano. “Sheltair has been a wonderful partner in serving the sector of our business and we’re thrilled to welcome this major expansion, which we know will be nothing short of spectacular when it opens next year.

Vilnius Airport seeks contractor for construction of new passenger terminal

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Part of the Lithuanian Airport network, Vilnius Airport is looking for a contractor to construct a new module of its passenger departures terminal in the northern part of the airport.

The new building will be of A++ energy class with the airport aiming to ensure the new terminal building is BREEAM Good certified. During construction of the new terminal the airport will need to remain operational as usual using the existing passenger terminal. In addition to the new terminal the reconstruction of the ground accessibility system in front of the airport will be carried out simultaneously. The engineering networks will be renovated, the pavement will be replaced, and a new much more efficient transport scheme will be developed.

The new two-storey departures terminal will sit between he existing departures and the VIP Terminal & Conference centre. The ground floor will feature a passenger check-in area with a self-service zone. There will also be common public spaces, cafes and other commercial areas and airline offices.

Luggage screening and sorting facilities, rooms for engineering systems are being designed in the eastern part of the building, while a passenger security screening area as well as departure and arrival gates for Schengen passengers are planned to be situated on the second floor. The new terminal will be connected to the existing passenger terminal by a spacious walkway, which will ensure comfortable connection between the two terminals. The new facility will also have two new air bridges.

“Already before the pandemic, Vilnius Airport had reached its capacity limits,” said Dainius Ciuplys, Head of Operations and infrastructure at Lithuanian Airports. “This development is very important both for us and the passengers. The new terminal will expand the operational and technological possibilities of the airport, which are related to the direct activities, and will allow to increase the range of non-aviation services. In the longer term, we will be able to easily initiate qualitative changes and introduce new enhancements in the existing terminal,” he continued.

With plans to start work next year, Vilnius Airport plans to select a contractor for the construction of the new terminal by mid-2022 with it going live by the end of 2024. Once complete the total area of all passenger terminals at the Lithuanian gateway will increase by a third. Passenger throughput will double – from 1,200 passengers per hour to 2,400

Bordeaux Airport inaugurates new pier

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As part of Bordeaux Airport’s modernisation plan, which is focused on service quality and environmental transition, its new pier, which was unveiled on 7 October, is the first High Environmental Quality (HEQ) facility at the French hub.

The fully transparent passageway links Hall A in Bordeaux Airport to its new international pier offering 3,000 m.sq. of new building, including 2,000 m.sq. of devoted passenger areas with four lounges offering panoramic views of aircraft taking off on the runway.

The new structure was designed with high-performance systems to ensure a comfortable indoor atmosphere, while boasting a distinctive and imposing façade of special glazing. Combining protection from solar over-heating and noise reduction, it provides a significant proportion of natural light, offset at nightfall or in cloudy weather by automatic variation in the LED lighting system.

The HEQ certification of the pier guarantees environmental and energy efficiency. Its annual energy use is 11% lower than that of an airport complying with the most recent thermal regulation. Regarding water use, it enables an annual saving of 1,000 m. sq. of drinking water, i.e. the equivalent of 200,000 lavatory flushes.

High-performance, environmentally friendly interior furnishings, including paint and suspended ceilings were chosen to emit as few pollutants as possible. Wood furnishings sourced from sustainably managed forests, and the linoleum flooring is composed of 90% fully natural and recyclable materials.

The new pier is one of several projects the airport is undertaking to enhance its service quality and strengthen the management of its environmental impacts. Despite the global health crisis the airport has pursed an active strategy for its environmental management with the goal of becoming a carbon neutral airport by 2030.

Header image: Bordeaux Airport’s new passenger pier ©@SA_ADBM

Princess Juliana Airport’s terminal reconstruction underway

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Ballast Nedam International Projects B.V. has officially signed an agreement as the general contractor for of Princess Juliana Airport’s terminal reconstruction project. Construction is due to start by the end of September.

The airport terminal suffered massive devastation during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and the official signing ceremony, which was held at the airport’s check-in hall on 24 August marks one of the most anticipated reconstruction projects in the construction firm’s history.

The Airport Terminal Reconstruction Project is jointly funded by the European Investment bank (EIB) and the Sint Maarten Trust Fund. The Sint Maarten Trust Fund is financed by the Government of the Netherlands, managed by the World Bank, and implemented by the National Recovery Program Bureau (NRPB).

Commenting on the contract signing, Brian Mingo, CEO of the Princess Juliana International Airport said: “This is a major milestone for the country, PJIAE NV and our staff. I would also like to compliment the project team with this accomplishment, despite the hurdles such as COVID-19, which complicated the works tremendously, they never lost focus and made the impossible, quite possible.”

He added his thanks to “all stakeholders not forgetting our shareholder, the Princess Juliana International Airport Holding Board (PJIAH) and the Government of Sint Maarten for their patience and consistent support over the last year. I am proud to announce that we finally can start rebuilding the ‘Airport of the Future’.”

The phased-planned construction portion of the project will take place over a two-year period, following the mobilisation of the contractor in August 2021. Ultimately, the renovation development will further modernise the 15-year-old terminal building.

The reconstruction project is due to be complete by Q2, 2023, although sections of the terminal building will come online from as early as December 2022.