Amsterdam and Vienna-based design studio Büro für MEHR has created a drive through concept for an airport passenger terminal that could change the way airports process traffic. The concept offers a significant reduction of the size of an airport’s layout to simplify ground traffic and significantly reduce its environmental impact. It is anticipated that within next decade aviation traffic could almost double, with many airports already struggling to facilitate increased demand. The Drive Through Airport concept has been designed with future logistics in mind, while simply presenting an idea that raises the question, why hasn’t anyone done this before?
"The basic idea is to move the aircraft to the passengers, rather than moving the people to their planes," Miklos Deri, Co-Founder of Büro für MEHR told Gizmag. "Instead of investigating airports in a traditional manner purely from a spatial point of view, the design focuses around the passenger and aircraft handling processes."
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The new concept sends aircrafts through a mandatory pathway, much a like a carwash but separated into three divisions: arrival, servicing and departure. To facilitate the new concept of aircraft flow, the airplanes move through an elevated undercover terminal, where passengers can board the planes from the level directly above. "Traditional airport planning is less than three-dimensional," said Deri. "However, adding time as a new component is the key to reorganize and reinvent the entire system. Instead of static gates, why not moving the aircraft on a linear track and add all the necessary features around it?"
Furthermore, the layout allows passengers to board directly from the main commercial area of the terminal, saving on transfer time, luggage collection and ultimately making it easier to board connecting flights. Large glass windows and sloped boarding lounges will allow passengers to appreciate the vast view of the passing planes and all the movement and machinery of a functional airport.
While the design is a clear step towards making airport terminals more user-friendly, the plan also reduces its environmental footprint by saving on aircraft fuel and terminal construction. "Drive Through Airport is as green as an airport can be," said Deri. "[It] is sustainable because it is highly efficient. The terminal’s footprint is reduced and airside taxi ways are optimized."
Büro für MEHR’s eight-lane Drive Through Airport prototype has the capability to process a maximum of 48 airplanes every 15 minutes. According to Büro für MEHR the remarkable achievement is equivalent to a 144 gate airport with an average 45-minute turnaround. "To avoid delays in a row, drive through airport requires skilled and motivated handlers to ensure a smooth operation and keep the time frame," Deri added.
While it is difficult to predict how much the Drive Through Terminal will cost to construct, Deri is confident that it can easily underbid London Heathrow's T5A or the recently finished terminal in Madrid Barajas T4 or T4S. Deri is also hoping that the concept will inspire dramatic changes in airport planning. "Well, of course we hope that we can start a revolution!" said Deri. "The first prototype focuses on a dense network of short-haul flights, for narrow-body aircraft. It works best for busy airports, since the amount of tracks are laid out for peak capacity. It could be added as a module to an existing airport, or built as a greenfield airport."
Büro für MEHR is currently hoping that like-minded collaborators will help construct the first Drive Through Airport, but no doubt this is not the last we’ll be seeing from the creative firm. "MEHR means MORE in German," concluded Deri. "I am confident that you can expect MORE from us in the future!"