Tell us about AECOM. What does your company specialize in?
AECOM is the world’s premier infrastructure firm, delivering professional services across an entire project – from planning, design and engineering to consulting and construction management. With a single global aviation team, comprising a vast network of talented specialists, we’re organized to support the most complex aviation programs, providing expert services in initial feasibility, planning, design, program management and construction. Across landside, terminal and airside projects, our integrated, collaborative solutions help airports meet passenger demand, drive economic growth and build legacies.
What are the challenges facing the industry?
A key challenge is to anticipate the technologies and operational modes that will be used in the future, so that we can plan and design flexible, multiuse facilities that won’t require significant and costly changes, and which accommodate all stakeholder needs.
Another major challenge, particularly in developed countries, is that airports undertaking large upgrade programs are constrained by space and capex limits. Optimizing the use of technology to maximize the capacity of existing facilities is of great value.
What do you think the aviation industry will look like in 10 years?
We see the industry evolving significantly in passenger processing from check-in to boarding. Terminal processors will accommodate more capacity through one-step self-check-in. Similar changes will be seen for immigration/ emigration and security checkpoints.
Terminal concourses will change from single-purpose to multipurpose areas, meaning that concessions and holdrooms will fully integrate. We also anticipate that airfields, specifically the apron and stands, will be used differently with the advent of higher-functioning boarding bridges and ground support equipment. Further advances in aircraft technologies will enhance airfield operations with the need for shorter take-offs and landings. Finally, we see advances in ATC allowing more efficient use of airspace, contributing to a more holistic use of assets.
How does AECOM help airports achieve a balanced and functional terminal design, especially when many stakeholders have competing interests?
This is clearly a challenge since there will always be diverging interests in optimum planning and how space is used. We think the planning and design of terminals should consider the ultimate user’s specific operational needs while providing the owners with a flexible facility. Sustainability and lifetime cost (capex and opex) are also important factors for delivering balanced solutions.
At AECOM we leverage our worldwide experience from working at over 150 airports, technical best practices and creative use of space with the application of practical technologies and sustainable design. This helps us to develop optimum solutions that work for our clients and stakeholders, and deliver outstanding experiences.
How do your technologies help airports excel?
We’ve developed our own advanced information management platform for operational readiness, activation and transitional (ORAT) services that helps deliver successful airport openings. Our tool – called OREx (Operational Readiness Excellence) – helps manage the transition of projects, services and facilities by allowing a user to track critical issues and overall progress throughout the ORAT process, eliminating common risks associated with openings.
We’re also using lean principles to unlock efficiencies on large aviation projects, looking at how optimizing processes using Lean design and construction principles can create improvements in time and cost savings.