international airports

can anyone please help me find a website that tells u information on how to design an international airport? i searched all over google, yahoo, geocities, etc… but i can’t find anything. i would really appreciate if anyone can find a website. i mean designs an international airport by an architects view. :slight_smile:

Did you find any websites on airport design in general?
Because an international airport is a regular old airport with customs facilities (I think)


Architect 1: “Hey Bob, I need to design a new airport. Any tips?”
Architect 2: “Google is your friend…”

Not the dialogue I want to have running through my head when I’m flying. :slight_smile:

The odd thing is, I’m a licensed pilot and I don’t know what sets an “international” airport apart from a “domestic” airport.

I’m not even sure there IS formal definition.

There’s the bit about customs, of course, but between ground school being several years in the past, and my trip through the academics of flying taking place before 9/11/01, I’m no longer sure about how that works. Some airports have customs agents on duty at set times, in other cases you have to arrange ahead of time or else wait in your airplane for them to show up. At least, that’s how it was when I was in ground school.

(shuffles off to go look that stuff up…)

If you want to design a new international (or domestic, for that matter) go look at DWI (Detroit). It has changed from the airport I dreaded most having to change planes at (well, maybe second after Chicago-O’Hare) to the one I would most want to change at if i have to change. They have just done a marvelous job. Of course, airports are still one of my least favorite places to be.

Just out of curiousity, what’s the information for? Design assignment?

actually i am an architect apprentice working for a firm planning on designing a new international airport somewhere around northern germany, its suppose to help handle frankfurt international’s problem of too many aircraft. i live in chicago so i’ve been to ohare like 100 times. i’ve looked at their airport and that is just a confusing mess with way too much security. another airport i really liked was Dubai Internation (dxb), but that is really an airport, a hotel, and mall put together. not that its a bad thing. i’m checking out mcnamara terminal that hari seldon mentioned, thanx, i’m really liking their terminal. by the way an international airport has a lot more than a domestic airport i.e. childrens play area, nowadays a mall, an endless amount of walking and waiting…etc…

I’m a flight instructor, and as far as I know the only thing that makes an airport “international” is putting that word in the name of the place.

There’s an airport near me which is low-use, non-towered, and it’s an “international” airport. There are no customs facilities. The runway isn’t even that big. I think they called it that just so it sounds good.

The only plane from another country I’ve ever seen in there is a Mexican Gulfstream. But since there are not customs agents on the field, they would have to land somewhere else first to pass through customs before coming to our “international” airport.

So design away. Big runways are always good, preferably arranged parallel to each other rather than crossing. I’d like a waterpark associated with it if I have a choice…

Does anyone else find it funny that Detroit’s airport is called “DWI”?

True according to the example that Gassendi gives, but with an international airport I’d associate at least arrangements for changing planes without going through customs/immigration.

BTW one advantage that FRA has is good transport connections by both commuter and long distance rail lines. Don’t know whether they wrote that into your requirements, perhaps they don’t want to compete in that segment (in the manner of some no-frills-airlines international airport at the back of beyond).

I have actually taken a master’s-level (basic) airport design course.

There is no regulation about naming airports (in the U.S. anyway). I can open up a grass strip in my backyard and call it Ski International Airport if I want. And then I can make it a private strip so only I can land!

Large airport design is an amazingly involved process that does not lend itself to learning about on the internet. I can’t believe your architecture firm would have anyone designing an airport without proper training. Think about it, the thing is a small town and you have to plan for everything from how long to make the runways to where is the optimum place to put the food court based on projected foot traffic flow.

its not just my firm, we’re combining with 3 others in the greater chicago area, plus we have numerous consultants with plenty of experience in designing international airports or large scaled airports that handles numerous international flights. anyway i know that large international airports are a HUGE project that why it takes atleast a decade from start to finish. i guess this is one thing that isn’t on the internet. the closest i’ve gotten is finding out how a large airport works.

The Renzo Piano Workshop have a bibliography of stuff relating to Kansai.

It’s an airport that has designated itself as international, which means that it’s made contact with Customs/INS to process any international flights that might land there. (It doesn’t have to have any regularly scheduled.) Watertown (NY) International Airport is barely large enough to land a small jet, its only sked flights are those little nine-passenger jobs to and from Syracuse, but it’s 25 miles from the Canadian border and has arrangements in case anybody wants to fly across the border and land there. I’d guess that Quincy, IL has an airport of similar size, but to designate it an international airport would be ridiculous.

What you want to look at, though, are large supplemental airports intended to take some burden off the main airport serving a hub city. Newark would be an outstanding example; interview people there on what worked, what is a problem, etc. Berlin has a #2 airport, as do a few other cities. Southern Californians: what’s the second option to LAX?

I don’t think there’s any definitive text on designing commecial international hub airports - which is really what you’re talking about. From what I’ve been able to check Gassendi and skiare comletely correct. In fact, reviewing my references here I’d say the majority of airports in the US with “international” in the name have one runway and no on-site customs - heck, a lot don’t even have control towers. A couple don’t even have pavement. Apparently you can name them whatever the heck you want.

And, by the way, even if it doesn’t have “international” in the name there’s no reason a foreign flight can’t stop there. Heck, during Oshkosh Madness you can easily spot planes from a couple dozen countries coming through my local field. The tricky bit is arranging customs

Frankly, it seems the large hub airports are all one of a kind, and they all seem to have too many airplanes, not enough gates, and way too far to go between terminals

thanx bonzer that’s the type of website i’ve been trying to find. i saw the kansai airport special on discovery channel last year it was pretty interesting. i guess the name of the airport doesn’t matter so the best way to say it is i’m trying to find what it takes to build an airport large enough to be a hub for one of the top carriers of the world.

When I was taking flying lessons (about 1990) in Washington (the state, not the city), there was an international airport out on the Olympic Penninsula that had a grass runway. I heard it was the only one left that could make that claim.

One thing I’ve noticed about recently-designed large airports is the spacing between the runways. Seattle-Tacoma, originally laid out in the 40s, I think, has two parallel runways (they were squabbling over a third when I moved away, has that been settled yet?), but they’re right next to each other, and there are regulations that require them to close one when the visibility gets below a certain level. Newer airports seem to spread the runways out as far as possible on a given plot of land, and put the parking garages, terminals and such in the middle. If there are enough runways and taxiways around the periphery, the access roads have to pass underneath them. I think Dallas/Ft. Worth, Charles DeGualle and the new airport in Denver are all designed around that principle.

It’s probably not a big deal in northern Germany, but check the altitude of the site. On higher ground, an airplane requires a longer takeoff run. The runways in Denver are huge.

You might also want to see what you can find out about Dulles airport. The original terminal was rather small, and with the gates clustered together. Too close together to park airplanes wingtip-to-wingtip. The planes were parked at a service building, with huge busses (“mobile lounges” I think they called them) to drive people out to the planes. I get the impression that didn’t work well at all.

Apart from that, you’re on your own.

Actually, the three-letter code for Detroit-Wayne County Metro Airport is “DTW”.

Although “DWI” would have been extremely amusing.

You’re right about the mobile lounges, but the not the service building. The original concept was that the mobile lounges carried passengers directly to planes on the tarmac. At the time, jetways hadn’t been invented, so at most airports passengers walked from the building out to the plane and up the gangway into the plane.
From this history::

The mobile lounges worked well with early-sixties vintage aircraft, but the advent of the 747 and other widebody planes that could hold 300-400 people made them somewhat more cumbersome. In the 1990s a second building – Concourse B – with modern gates and jetways, was opened, and now the all the mobile lounges do is transport passengers from the main building to the other concourses.

I’ve flown out of and into Dulles a dozen times in the last few years (including just this past weekend!) and despite what the history site says, I haven’t seen a mobile lounge take passengers directly to a plane in more than ten years. But maybe they still do and I just haven’t seen it.

I would suggest that you might want to start a thread about the best/worst design features of various airports, and use that info in your design.

For instance theh idiot that designed the monorail at Newark, with the little tiny cars with no room for your luggage should be shot.
On the other hand, the train at SEA-TAC works very well.

I flew into Dulles once in 1982, when they were still using the lounges as they were designed. There was definitely a small building out on the ramp where we parked. If I remember correctly, it was very long and thin (1000’ by 50’, or so) and planes parked nose-to-tail along both sides of it. And only one story tall. You’d never confuse it for a terminal, but if all the planes are going to be out there, it makes sense to have a place to park the baggage trucks and such.

I may even have a picture of it someplace. As we were going to our parking spot, we taxied past a Concorde, and I snapped off a couple of shots out the window.

Your cite says that Dulles was built in 1962. It didn’t predate jetways by very much, I remember seeing them in the early 70s.

And the terminal is a gorgeous building. stereonationpga, the best advice I can give you is to find out if Eero Saarinen is still alive.