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Underground terminal buildings?

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Underground terminal buildings?

Old 30th Jul 2011, 23:59
  #21 (permalink)  
 
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John Hill, thanks for starting an interesting thread.

As someone who trained in architecture before my current foray in the transport game, I have often wanted to start a thread on airport design!

To the best of my knowledge, there are no manuals out there on 'how to design an airport' - so reference materials are based on pretty pictures of existing airports. There are a small number of firms who are experts in the field - but relative to other kinds of infrastructure, airports are a pretty niche endeavour.

My thinking was actually the opposite to what you have suggested - considering that land is at a premium - especially in blighty - could terminals be built above the apron? Essentially, you would have a multi-story structure above the main body of the aircraft, supported by columns at the end of the wingspan. My guess was that this wouldn't be acceptable because of the fire risk.

I think that an under-apron terminal would be technically feasible, but the costs would be high. New techniques with glass are being developed all the time - so some form of rooflight punctured through the concrete should be possible. I just think that the need to climb up through the floor and then up again to reach the aircraft (or a third time to board the nice bits of the A380) would add a lot of complexity relative to the convenience savings you mention.

Apart from using buses or just stairs at Ryanairports, you could avoid the push-back requirement by using mobile jetways. These could even have a 'divider' to process pax before boarding - but they are still messy and inflexible if you have one or two stragglers - hence not many airports use them.
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Old 31st Jul 2011, 04:15
  #22 (permalink)  
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Oh well, it was sort of interesting and I am somewhat suprised to hear that there are apparently no underground terminal buildings.

I thought though that in one of my several experiences in the ranks of SLF I transitted between two gates at an airport in Washington where we walked underground, but the details are rather hazy which is hardly suprising as I would have been about 20 hours into my trip by then.

Meanwhile, I will go on dreaming of my airport design, parallel runways with a row of 'angle parked' airliners between the runways.
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Old 31st Jul 2011, 05:53
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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Think out of the BOX

Put the terminal above ground, and the runway below ground.

QED.

or perhaps just wait for DXB to start sinking, as most of the big structures in Dubai are doing.
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Old 31st Jul 2011, 06:39
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Good idea Gulfstreamaviator but hardly original as I believe the North Koreans have a few underground runways!

Daily NK - North Korea Constructs "Underground Runway"
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Old 31st Jul 2011, 16:13
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JH,

you are talking about IAD (Dulles), which does indeed have an underground passage connecting the main terminal (the second finest in the US imho) to the outer piers. They also had mobile lounges, but only to connect pax between the concourses - afaik they have gone now.

I don't really see how the undeground spaces can register anything like as well as Saarinen's roof on the terminal itself!

Most airport terminals were built with legacy carriers in mind - and they have always preferred parking at a 'proper' gate with a jetway (air bridge). I don't think this model is compatible with the kind of turnaround you envisage, and also how much time / labour are we really saving? Pushback takes - 90 seconds?

At a low cost facility, I am with you - but I think the few that have been built have still used the standard jetway model, just without the jetways - so often using a single storey ground level terminal.

The problem is that an underground terminal would be hugely expensive, and that cost would outweigh the advantages in turnaround time. As for parallel runways, I have always felt that multiple runways, unless already there, are not compatible with the lo-cost model, given their huge cost to build and the likely need for extensive taxiing.
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Old 31st Jul 2011, 16:14
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GLF,

On a similar note, I did see a proposal for two parallel runways, each sloping at opposite angles, the logic being that a downhill take off and an uphill landing would save on fuel.
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Old 31st Jul 2011, 17:23
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Terminals at larger airports are multi-storey buildings with numerous levels separating arrivals, departures, administration etc. So it would require a lot of digging.
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Old 31st Jul 2011, 22:29
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To the best of my knowledge, there are no manuals out there on 'how to design an airport' - so reference materials are based on pretty pictures of existing airports.
Some useful guidelines here

http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/m...70_6b_chg1.pdf

http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/m...50_5300_13.pdf

Still gives plenty of scope for innovative ideas

See also ICAO Doc 9184

Individual countries may also have their own requirements
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Old 1st Aug 2011, 10:17
  #29 (permalink)  
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Thanks JABIRD, I never knew I had ever been to Dulles but I do not doubt it as that was one marathon weather disrupted trip that took me 46 hours, without 'stopping' to reach my destination in Europe.

I know of a few quite steeply sloped runways which, due to terrain, are only useable uphill landing and downhill take off. But maybe that is not really what was being suggested.
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Old 1st Aug 2011, 10:22
  #30 (permalink)  
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Virginblue, yes a lot of digging.

Ha ha, we could 'refine' the principle somewhat and use spoil excavated for the terminal building to ramp the runways!
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Old 12th Aug 2011, 20:29
  #31 (permalink)  
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Still thinking on this one.....

The original concept had the aircraft operating in a clear space with no need for push backs etc but this does not appear to be an issue.

So........ if the gates were arranged so that the aircraft nosed in towards a central point they would be much closer together there being no terminal building in between.

The advantage of this would be the floor space of the underground terminal building would be much smaller and passengers and crew would have much shorter distances to walk to, from and between gates. Unfortunately that is probably the least likely thing to influence airport designers.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 15:58
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Suzeman,

Thanks for the link. Doubtless the CAA will have something too, but the frequency of new airport design is still close to zero. Within the UK in the last 30 years, we've had - just LCY really? (DSA was a new terminal on a previous military field).

JH,

The advantage of this would be the floor space of the underground terminal building would be much smaller and passengers and crew would have much shorter distances to walk to, from and between gates. Unfortunately that is probably the least likely thing to influence airport designers.
Actually, this will depend on their brief. LCY was very much designed for minimum walking, and I'm sure plenty of contributors here will attest to door open to surface transport times (with luggage) of less than 5 minutes.

Regional airports want to strike the balance right - they play on being more user friendly than the big hubs, but they are making much less per pax than LCY, so they want to boost spending by shoving people into shops.

They also don't 'want' to have people arrive by bus, as they make no money from this. The real easy money is in a surface car park.

However, local authorities may then insist on a Section 106 agreement as part of any expansion plan, which dictates that a certain percentage of passengers must arrive by public transport.
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Old 23rd Aug 2011, 16:12
  #33 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by jabird View Post
Suzeman,

Thanks for the link. Doubtless the CAA will have something too, but the frequency of new airport design is still close to zero. Within the UK in the last 30 years, we've had - just LCY really? (DSA was a new terminal on a previous military field).
There's Sheffield as well - almost closed now, new terminal building converted to offices, but just about hanging on as the local police chopper base.
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Old 7th Sep 2011, 18:37
  #34 (permalink)  
 
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this design idea could actually help the bombay airport (VABB, BOM). they could take all the terminals underground and finally have a parallel runway, or maybe add a 4th runway. i dont think they are doing it but if any airport needs it, bombay should be number 1.
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Old 7th Sep 2011, 19:28
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder if any of these designs consider boarding from multiple doors. That often seems a bottleneck.

Also, for ease of pushback you don't need the full terminal underground. Just the close-t-jetway sections.
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