The manner in which an airport is designed determines how efficient passengers are served. It is also very important in the sense that it determines how airplanes park, for the sake of having passengers board them. In this case, when designing the configuration of the terminals, it needs to be done in a way as to consider future operations. There are various specifics that the management needs to consider in developing the design (Young & Wells, 2014). The first one is to ensure that there is simplicity and ease in orientation for the sake of reducing the distance of walking for passengers and changes in the levels. Secondly, it allows for the compatibility of airport facilities with the various characteristics that aircrafts have. Thirdly, it allows for flexibility within the airport that would accommodate any changes in the future industry (Young & Wells, 2014).
In this case, the airport under study is the Denver International Airport. The terminal configuration of the airport is satellite, as the major terminal is in such a way that the airplanes park while surrounding it. When they park they form a shape of a star. The concourse and the processing area of the airport are connected using connectors that are under the ground, at-grade, and some that are overhead (Schilling, 2013). The fact that the connectors are arranged in this manner implies that the airport has the ability to serve a large number of passengers at the same time. In the case of parking, the planes face the satellite with their noses, such that they form the shape of a star. This allows for the maximization of the available space that the planes have for parking as they await passengers to board. Unlike other airport and terminal designs, in Denver, the processing of passengers is done in a terminal that is separate from the concourse satellite, thereby reducing congestion of the several services within the same building (Schilling, 2013).
Meeting the Needs of the Stakeholders
The development of any airport is for the sake of ensuring that the major needs of the principal stakeholders are met in a manner that is efficient. In this case, the major needs include having the smooth flow of operations, ensuring that there is no congestion. The Denver International Airport has truly served its purpose in terms of delivering to the stakeholders (Schilling, 2013). When an airport holds a large number of passengers at the same time and in a way that is efficient, then the evaluation of the airport could be that it has successfully met the main objectives of its creation. The design of Denver has enabled for the presence of different passenger serving facilities in different buildings, thereby reducing congestion. This is considering that the airport is the largest in the United States based on the amount of land that it occupies, and handles one of the highest numbers of passengers on a daily basis (Schilling, 2013).
The airport has airlines that depart 375 times on a daily basis to more than 14 destinations. The management of passengers is very efficient as there are three major satellite concourses that are connected to the main customer processing terminal. All the three concourses have a total of 133 gates, thereby allowing passengers to easily board planes at any given time. The concourses are connected using both underground and at-grade connectors, where the underground one is a railroad that has four trains stations. Service at the at-grade is by use of vehicles that are 31 in number. This transportation system is not in any way related to that one which connects the city of Denver to the airport (Schilling, 2013).
DIA is one of the busiest international airports, not only in the US but throughout the world. Its location is one of the contributing factors for this fact. It serves as a hub for many airline companies, including United Airlines, People Express, Western Airlines, and the Old Frontier Airlines. Before DIA, the major airport in Denver was Stapleton, which hosted three or four airlines. However, the number of gates was not enough to serve the needs of the airlines, thereby initiating the development of DIA. Apart from the gates; the runways were not conducive for planes during bad weather. However, with DIA, it was constructed in such a way so as to allow for expansion over the coming 50 years for the sake of eliminating the many issues that were present in Stapleton. One of the major challenges with many airports is the handling of traffic efficiently (Ashford et al., 2013). However, the management of the airport has sorted out this problem from the terminal design which allows for the entry of traffic from all the directions independently. The pattern of the runways is also unique in the sense that it allows for in and out of air traffic without having delays or many adjustments. At the same time, to avoid crosswinds, the traffic schedules can be adjusted irrespective of the direction of the wind. More runways can still be included if there is an increase in the air traffic, as the availability of land is not an issue (Ashford et al., 2013).
Ashford, N., Mumayiz, S., & Wright, P. (2013). Airport engineering (4th ed.). Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley.
Schilling, D. (2013). Denver Airport 2nd Largest In The World, Twice the Size of Manhattan - Industry Tap. Industry Tap. Retrieved 23 July 2017, from http://www.industrytap.com/denver-airport-2nd-largest-in-the-world-twice-the-size-of-manhattan/7982
Young, S., & Wells, A. (2014). Airport planning and management. New York: McGraw-Hill.
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