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Once completed MCI will need to transition smoothly away from its current outdated three-terminal layout to the new single terminal with airport operations remaining functional during this process.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.

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