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Old June 28th, 2011, 11:31 PM   #1
1772
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MISC | Does a successfull airport really need to be enormous?

When you look at new asian airports like Hong Kong, Dubai and Incheon, they are truly enormous.

But they can usually succeed by being built on new islands or in the desert.

If an european/american city wants to build a airport it usually dosen't have that luxury. They are usually restrained by enviromental or residental obstacles; thus needs to be smaller.

So, can they still be successfull while staying small?

Will Frankfurt ever succeed Incheon as the best and busiest airport in the world, or is the small size of Fraport to much of an obstacle?

What say you?
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Old June 29th, 2011, 10:08 AM   #2
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What do you mean by saying "Will Frankfurt ever succeed Incheon as the best and busiest airport in the world?" In 2010 FRA was 9th busiest airprot in the World.And above Dubai, Hong Kong or Seoul. From my point of view asian businessman doesn't have place to put their money, so they invest in so major projects as airport. Plus take a look at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi. So what's the point of building such a fancy airports? Maybe this is the way to represent the country or something...
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Old June 29th, 2011, 11:15 AM   #3
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US has big airports. JFK is a huge airport that is just split into many terminals.

Copenhagen consistently ranks high on best airport surveys. Yet it's a small and cozy facility.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #4
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If you define 'successful' as having a high customer satisfaction I would even say that many smaller airports are doing better.

For example I really dislike the enormous distances one has to walk to your gate in airports like PVG, FRA and AMS (often almost 1.5 km) and the fact that you often have to wait longer for your baggage in really huge airports than you have to in smaller airports.

Particularly Scandinavian airports like HEL, CPH, ARN and OSL are much more convenient and stress-free for travellers. Neither of them could be considered enormous, but all are without a doubt pretty successfull.
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Old June 29th, 2011, 09:58 PM   #5
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And airport has to be able to accomodate its passenger flow. If it's run over capacity, it's going to be overcrowded and miserable. If you have a gateway/hub airport in a large city, it needs to be large enough to accomodate the traffic. If you have a smaller airport in a secondary city, it can be smaller, but still comfortable.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 12:18 AM   #6
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Exuberant terminal facilities are nice, but not necessarily required for a terminal to be efficient and comfortable.

Aircraft congestion is a much more serious issue. Take Heathrow: it is the busiest in Europe, but it has only 2 runways, one of them operating with alternate restrictions. So it is plagued with delays, despite a shinny Terminal 5.

There has always been a sort of "design competition" between smaller multiple terminals and giant central terminals for big airports. Mega-large single terminal facilities have their advantages, particularly for airports that are big hubs and that rely heavily on duty-free shopping. But they have disadvantages. As one mentioned, you can be required to walk as much as 1600-1800m for the overall process of taking a non-Schengen=>Schengen connection in Schiphol.
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Old June 30th, 2011, 02:53 AM   #7
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They don't need to start off huge, but they do need room to expand! This is something Dubai and Phoenix Sky Harbour do not. I pick these to as they are both in very built up areas with no room for expansion, unless they demolish huge amounts of homes...
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Old June 30th, 2011, 09:35 AM   #8
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An enormous airport in Montreal (Mirabel) wound up being an unsuccessful airport after a rail line could not be constructed due to budgetary constraints.
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Old January 11th, 2012, 04:57 AM   #9
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If the airport is the largest in the region, it can make the airport more successful compared to its neighbors. One case of this is the Baltimore/Washington DC area. Dulles is the most largest airport, with the most international services, however both Reagan and Thurgood Marshall Airports are successful since they serve different aviation markets than Dulles.
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Old January 11th, 2012, 05:44 AM   #10
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Bigger airport has more budget allocation from the government and given more priority and in turn it has a better chance to be successful
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Old January 11th, 2012, 07:05 PM   #11
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Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle is on a relatively small site. I like it.

To put in the third runway recently (a 20 year saga), they had to turn a valley, including a lot of houses, into a plateau. But they did it. Now they can operate two runways in low visibility, which has dramatically improved on-time performance and given the airlines the confidence to add more routes.

You can walk from the main terminal to the street via a skybridge (related to a rail station) that opened in 2009. It's 1/4 mile or so. Travelers and flight crews are starting to figure out that they can walk to the Hilton, Holiday Inn, etc. You can get to bus routes that don't technically stop at the "airport."

Parking is in giant garages. This is the US...we drive way too much. The main garage is 15,000 spaces. A second is about to open for rental cars only, with 5,000 spaces, a half-mile from the airport.

The biggest downside is that certain key spaces are very tight. They've expanded come concourses and built a new central food hall that's a great spot for waiting including a view. But the ticketing and check in area, which is basically a 50'(??) wide hallway a few blocks long, would be way better with another 10 feet of width. This is nearly impossible because there's no excess space between the terminal and garage. The same lack of space is why the light rail line (to Downtown Seattle) is on the other side of the garage rather than next to the terminal.

The other big tight spot is the international arrivals area. It's a headache everyone wishes had been rebuilt years ago.

Generally, the small acreage and current tight layout means that adding space in some areas is difficult as well as expensive. But being reasonably central is a big advantage. Using less land is a huge advantage environmentally. And being able to walk from the terminal to public streets, hotels, etc....priceless.

In fact, I expect the neighborhood just outside of the airport to grow as a mixed-use district in the coming years. It already has hotels and cheap apartments. It's easy to imaging office tenants locating where they can just hop on a plane and also catch rail to Downtown. Airport/airline workers might live there too, preferably a couple blocks further away. The City of SeaTac (no hyphen) is planning just that.
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Old January 11th, 2012, 08:07 PM   #12
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ICN isnt really a huge airport, its one pretty big building and a satelite building north.
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Old January 12th, 2012, 12:06 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhays View Post
The biggest downside is that certain key spaces are very tight. They've expanded come concourses and built a new central food hall that's a great spot for waiting including a view. But the ticketing and check in area, which is basically a 50'(??) wide hallway a few blocks long, would be way better with another 10 feet of width. This is nearly impossible because there's no excess space between the terminal and garage. The same lack of space is why the light rail line (to Downtown Seattle) is on the other side of the garage rather than next to the terminal.

The other big tight spot is the international arrivals area. It's a headache everyone wishes had been rebuilt years ago.
I agree with you, the international arrival/immigration area is truly dreadful, I think it's under renovation right now so hopefully it'll be much better soon. When I was there in November I overheard some Chinese visitor mentioned that the arrival area reminds them of a long distance bus terminal.

I find the baggage claim and ground transportation area pretty small too, the exits are constrained by poorly placed stairs and escalators. I would consider PDX has a better execution of that same area. Like you mentioned the Link Light Rail station is one parking garage away, walking the distance pretty much expose you to the element since the walkway is not fully enclosed. It'd be much better if it's closed up and install a people mover.
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