Architecture

Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR

Drive Through Airport prototyp...
Design studio Büro für MEHR has created a drive through concept for an airport passenger terminal that could change the way airports process traffic
Design studio Büro für MEHR has created a drive through concept for an airport passenger terminal that could change the way airports process traffic
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Design studio Büro für MEHR has created a drive through concept for an airport passenger terminal that could change the way airports process traffic
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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 idea is simple: Instead of moving the passengers to the aircraft, the airplanes move to the passengers, minimizing walking distances and reducing the footprint of the airport drastically," says Büro für MEHR
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"The idea is simple: Instead of moving the passengers to the aircraft, the airplanes move to the passengers, minimizing walking distances and reducing the footprint of the airport drastically," says Büro für MEHR
Sloped boarding lounges prepare the passengers for their flights
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Sloped boarding lounges prepare the passengers for their flights
The terminal building is elevated above the processed aircrafts
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The terminal building is elevated above the processed aircrafts
Drive Through Airport prototype has the capability to process a maximum of 48 airplanes every 15 minutes
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Drive Through Airport prototype has the capability to process a maximum of 48 airplanes every 15 minutes
Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR
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Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR
Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR
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Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR
Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR
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Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR
Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR
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Drive Through Airport prototype by Büro für MEHR

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."

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!"

Sources: Büro für MEHR via Dezeen

22 comments
DOC HOLLYWOOD
Wow. Talk about instantly seeing the future... Not just the layout-but seeing airliners for what they are: Overgrown buses. Additionally...I would speculate that the near-term doubling of air traffic will come from the increasing number of "air taxi / limo" services that will pop up to service those that can afford not to be herded on to these beasts.Couple that with the realization of a functional / stylish "flying car" for those who can afford the convenience...and you have what I call: "The Aviation Software Coders Full Employment Act". :-)
Bob Ehresman
This doesnt look like it would easily scale to changes in aircraft geometry. People thought the A380 was extremely difficult to accommodate at conventional gate layouts. Imagine what would have happened if this sort of airport were widely employed before the A380 was conceived. Imagine what the impact would be for airports if the Boeing Blended Wing Body aircraft program eventually bears fruit.
jamie-lill
The reason why nobody has does this in the past is when the first plane breaks down you have to tow it out delaying all the rest of the planes. Looks good on paper but really is a bad concept.
Robt
One delay to one aircraft and what happens then?
Snake Oil Baron
Breakdowns will probably be handled the same way they are handled today when a plane breaks down at a gate or on a runway. They tow it. There have been strongman stunts where one guy has gotten a jumbo jet moving single handed without power so I suspect that it's not an unsolvable problem. Maybe they will even have the foresight to have more than the minimum number of lanes needed.
Snake Oil Baron
As for the A380, not all airports are going to have the runways for them anyway. Big, transoceanic flights will likely service the biggest airports which will have some or all regular terminals while most travel can go through the lines. Lots of airports have more than one section as some are built at different periods of time.
cachurro
Looking at the pictures it looks like the lines are only 3 planes long. Each plane in the line first unloads the passengers, then is serviced, and then loads the new passengers. Any delays would only have an effect on at most 2 other planes. As any other plane would be able to be redirected for entering another line. Looks good to me.
DemonDuck
"Why hasn't someone done this before?" Because it will work just as well as drive through lines work at your favorite fast food store. You know, like the guy who tries to figure out what he wants to eat after he stops in front of the speaker, then doesn't have enough money to pay for it. Or the kid spills his drink and wants another one. So the plane in the rear is fully loaded, fueled and has a flight plan ready to go and the plane in front has an unruly passenger that has to be offloaded by sky marshals. Is it really that hard to see what could go wrong with this scheme?
L1ma
Re DemonDuck; Time to try the Thunderbirds concept of detachable passenger cabins, someone being a problem means removing the cabin, the flight behind can then have its passengers moved up the queue with a cabin swap.
Slowburn
Then there is also the confusion of having all the passengers at the same gate.