Managing the challenges of Belo Horizonte Airport’s passenger terminal project


30 March 2023



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Emerson Chaves, Engineer within the airport development team at Belo Horizonte International Airport, tells International Airport Review about the challenges of the major modernisation work on the old passenger terminal which is a brownfield project.

Internal team and partner suppliers

Considering the existence of a Proprietary Engineer responsible for managing and conducting the project, the challenges arise from the composition of this project team itself, as well as the selection of suppliers and providers of specialised architecture and multi-disciplinary engineering services. For the airport engineering team, in addition to technical knowledge related to the various disciplines, it is essential to develop some soft skills within the team itself, in readiness for an environment where all initial ideas must be considered possible and feasible. The team needs to know how to deal with expectations and have the wisdom to translate into technical terms the needs and desires expressed by all stakeholders. Likewise, partner suppliers need, in addition to technical competence, to have the ability to apply architecture and engineering solutions, observing the particularities of the facilities, since despite being highly regulated environments, every airport has its particularity and the way it wants to be recognised by the people who pass through it.

The importance of consolidating a project ‘needs programme’

Every project start goes through the gathering of technical requirements and assumptions stage, as well as the consolidation of a ‘needs programme’. For this project specifically, the consolidation of this programme was only possible after a specific interview with each of the stakeholders. There were hundreds of hours of interviews seeking to understand the expectations and needs of each of the related parties, such as public bodies, commercial teams, operation and airport security teams, maintenance, cleaning and conservation teams, airline members, among many others. And of course, in addition to the expectations related to technical and operational issues, most of the expectations were collected from the external public, that is, passengers, companions and visitors to Belo Horizonte International Airport. All these initial collections are fundamental so that the project developer partner suppliers can direct their efforts in order to translate into technical engineering and architecture documentation everything that is expected for the project.

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