Dublin unveils forward thinking terminal

Posted: 26 January 2011 | Ciaran Scanlon, Project Director (T2) Terminal 2 at Dublin Airport Authority (DAA) | No comments yet

Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 was officially opened by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Brian Cowen on November 19, 2010, to broad acclaim. The new facility, the largest public building ever constructed in Ireland, represents the centrepiece of the Dublin Airport Authority’s (DAA) €1.2 billion investment programme at the airport over the past five years.

This programme incorporated more than 120 separate projects to a minimum value of €5 million and delivered new, expanded or upgraded facilities across the airfield, terminal buildings and landside campus. Amongst its larger projects were a new boarding gate facility, Pier D (2007); over 80 acres of aircraft parking zones, taxiways and contact stands (2008) and an extension to the existing passenger terminal (2009).

Dublin Airport’s Terminal 2 was officially opened by the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of Ireland, Brian Cowen on November 19, 2010, to broad acclaim. The new facility, the largest public building ever constructed in Ireland, represents the centrepiece of the Dublin Airport Authority’s (DAA) €1.2 billion investment programme at the airport over the past five years.

This programme incorporated more than 120 separate projects to a minimum value of €5 million and delivered new, expanded or upgraded facilities across the airfield, terminal buildings and landside campus. Amongst its larger projects were a new boarding gate facility, Pier D (2007); over 80 acres of aircraft parking zones, taxiways and contact stands (2008) and an extension to the existing passenger terminal (2009).

The DAA is a fully commercial company whose sole shareholder is the government of Ireland. That shareholder announced in its Aviation Action Plan of May 2005, that the DAA had been directed to build a new passenger terminal and appropriate ancillary facilities at Dublin Airport.

This infrastructure would address the issues of congestion and sub-standard customer service that had become manifest at the airport during peak travel periods due to the impact of double-digit annualised passenger growth over the preceding decade.

The DAA immediately engaged Pascall + Watson architects to assess the existing Dublin Airport Masterplan and to prepare a ‘Capacity Enhancement Recommendation Report’ for the future development of its facilities.

This report, inter alia, identified the optimum site for the new terminal as lying close to and to the south-east of the existing terminal. Site selection was based on a range of factors including deliverability, constructability, affordability, passenger experience, operational efficiency and the potential, required by government, to operate Terminal 2 as a standalone facility.

In late 2005, a consortium comprising Arup, Mace and Pascall + Watson was selected by the DAA to design, plan and construct Terminal 2, with the support of the DAA’s in-house Asset Management & Development team. Davis Langdon PKS were appointed as cost consultants for the Design Team.

Following a comprehensive consultation process with airlines and other key stakeholders, the DAA submitted a planning application for Terminal 2 to the relevant local authority, Fingal County Council in August 2006. Following an appeal and public inquiry, planning permission was granted by the Irish planning appeals board, An Bord Pleanala, in August 2007 and preliminary site-work commenced two months later on October 1, 2007.

The DAA’s overriding objective in constructing Terminal T2 was to create a 21st century Gateway to Ireland and its economy while simultaneously relieving congestion in the existing Terminal Building. As commissioning client, the company also outlined a number of key strategic objectives to underpin the design and development of the new terminal. These included:

  • The development of new terminal, pier and road frontage facilities to cater efficiently for 12-15 million passengers per annum, designed flexibly to enable future change and expansion.
  • The requirement to meet the needs of a broad range of aviation services, but specifically the needs of long-haul carriers and passengers.
  • The delivery of facilities at appropriate capital and life cycle costs including the use of appropriate technology and systems to enhance sustainability.
  • The delivery of facilities that optimised space, light and intuitive wayfinding to enhance the passenger experience at Dublin Airport.

The narrow, elongated nature of the chosen site combined with the objective of providing dedicated access and egress roads for both terminals, had a fundamental impact on the final design and functionality of Terminal 2.

As a consequence, a separate Check-in Hall was placed parallel to, and to the north of the main processing area of the terminal building. These two principal components of the facility are linked by a bridge over the access road to Terminal 1, which bisects the new terminal.

Departing passengers, who are set down to the front of the Check-in Hall by public transport or private car, are presented with a range of check-in options at ground level. They then rise two levels by escalator, lift or stairs to the departures level and pass through passenger security and the terminal’s principal retail/catering space before descending two levels again to the pier and the boarding gates.

In contrast to many international terminals, the DAA was determined that arriving passengers were considered equally by the architects and designers. Their in-bound journey involves just a single ascent from the airbridge to the arrivals level in the pier. From there they travel through the buildings without further level change to the new multi-storey car park, linked by a pedestrian bridge, to the front of Terminal 2. For those requiring public transport, a stand-alone curved structure positioned midway between the terminal and the car park, houses lifts, escalators and staircases to take them back down a level to bus and taxi ranks on the arrivals forecourt.

The new terminal building itself covers an area of 75,000m2 (equivalent to Terminal 1) It is directly linked to the new 25,000m2 Pier E, which stretches for 440 meters to the rear of the terminal and which offers contact stands for 19 narrowbody (short haul) and/or eight widebody (long haul) aircraft.

The terminal building is divided vertically by three principal floor plates which comprise baggage hall at ground level and passenger segregation at 1st Floor (Arrivals) and 2nd Floor (Departures). More than 9,000m2 of retail and catering space is provided, principally in a spacious split-level area situated airside on the departures level that passengers will access following security clearance. The retail offer in Terminal 2 comprises a blend of new and existing retailers at the airport and features a range of Irish and overseas companies.

The design and materials used in Terminal 2, notably marble floor tiles, hardwood surfaces, stainless steel and back-painted glass finishes, enhance the light and space effect of the building while also keeping maintenance costs to a minimum. The white, fabric-coated ceiling panels serve to reflect the smooth external curves of the building, while still providing easy access to the service cables and pipes that lie behind them.

The baggage handling system installed at Terminal 2, installed by Siemens, utilises the latest hardware design and software support to enable accurate and efficient baggage of all shapes and sizes on their outbound and inbound journeys.

Comprising over six kilometres of conveyors and chutes and incorporating a fully-integrated automatic Hold Baggage Screening system it can comfortably meet the new terminal’s forecast capacity requirements for decades to come. Mindful of experience elsewhere, the DAA worked intensively with Siemens for well over a year prior to the commencement of operations at Terminal 2, to stress test every aspect of the baggage system and to ensure the robustness of its inbuilt redundancy processes.

The baggage system will also offer very specific and unique benefits for US-bound passengers and for their carrier airlines. When fully operational, Terminal 2 will offer only the second full US pre-clearance facility for customs, immigration and agriculture controls outside the North American region; a similar facility has been operating at Shannon Airport since summer 2009.

This facility, the outcome of a formal agreement between the Irish and US governments, will be operated by the US Customs & Border Protection (CBP) Agency.

It will enable departing passengers to clear all US entry requirements in Dublin and simply collect their luggage when they land in the United States, before moving to the next leg of their journey. It will enable airlines operating between Dublin and the US, to fly to cheaper domestic terminals at key airports such as JFK and in time to fly to large non-international airports throughout the US. This facility will not only lower airlines’ costs but also offer a wider range of new destinations and routes throughout the US.

The operation of pre-clearance is critically dependent on the design and capability of Terminal 2’s baggage system which enables rapid identification of individual pieces of luggage in the outbound baggage system and delivers them to the pre-clearance processing area within a short period of time, should a CBP officer wish to physically inspect a passenger’s bag. When the inspection process is complete, the luggage can then be re-inserted swiftly into the outbound system without delaying the entire process and the aircraft’s scheduled departure time.

The full Terminal 2 complex of buildings, comprising the terminal itself, Pier E, a dedicated gas-fired, CHP Energy Centre and a 1,300 space multi-storey car park, was constructed within a three-year timeframe. Due to the fast track nature of the project, the DAA decided to adopt a construction management strategy that divided the project into 17 major work streams or packages involving direct contractual relationships with 17 separate contractors.

This strategy facilitated delivery of a number of key objectives including the early competitive procurement of a number of critical preliminary packages including enabling works, foundations and structural steel. It also enabled a twin track process of procuring and nominating start-dates for later construction contracts such as fit-out, baggage handling and specialist systems, even while final design continued for these work streams.

The key to the success of this construction management strategy was the commitment of the various workstream contractors to work onsite and to deadline with the twin track design process and to co-ordinate their output with other interdependent packages. In a more conventional construction programme, the responsibility for such co-ordination would fall to the principal construction contractors; in the case of Terminal 2, it fell to Mace with the support of Arup.

Another key objective of the new terminal’s design was to deliver the most environmentally friendly and sustainable building possible within the confines of the brief and the site.

The most important and cost effective element of any energy efficient building is a wellinsulated external envelope, well sealed against air leakage. Terminal 2 combines this approach in tandem with maximising the availability of natural light, which significantly reduces the reliance on artificial lighting systems.

The design of the building also incorporates the use of ‘brise soleil’ solar shading to facades exposed to significant sunlight. Positioned both on the facade and the rooflight glazing, these help minimise heat gains and reduce the cooling loads required.

High level energy saving targets were additionally achieved by the use of gas combined heat and power boilers; a reduction in air filtration levels and the use of variable speed control pumps. These measures combined, contributed to a reduction in CO2 levels of approximately 20% compared to standard building regulations design. Further savings have also been achieved through the careful selection of materials and finishes and the use of recycled materials where possible.

With over 10,000,000 man-hours expended on delivering T2 and at its peak, nearly 3,000 people employed on a daily basis, the health and safety of all involved in the project was a paramount issue for the DAA.

In this context, the company decided that health and safety should represent a core value for the project as distinct from just another priority and to this end worked closely with all of the contactors to devise, implement and constantly review, a suitably robust health and safety programme.

This programme included a range of measures, processes and incentives including comprehensive induction courses; educational programmes for personnel at all levels on the project; regular ‘tool box talks’, ‘near miss reporting’; family days and competitions; and rewards for achievement of stretch targets. The central focus was on ensuring that all employees went home safely to their families at the end of the working day.

Measured across a broad range of criteria, the outcome over the timeframe of the construction project has been highly satisfactory from the DAA’s point-of-view. To select just one key metric; the accident frequency ratio, or the ratio of reportable accidents to 100,000 man-hours, as the project drew to a close, was at 0.27, significantly lower than the target set by the construction team and than many comparable international benchmarks.

The transition of services from Dublin Airport’s existing passenger terminal to Terminal 2 has begun with Aer Lingus and Etihad Airways commencing scheduled operations in November. Aer Lingus plans to transfer all its services, including transatlantic flights, within the first two months of 2011, by which time the airport’s other transatlantic carriers, Continental Airlines, American Airlines, Delta and US Airways, will also have moved to Terminal 2. When the transfer process is complete, airlines serving about 40% of Dublin Airport’s current 19 million passengers per annum, will fly to and from the new facility.

On behalf of all its stakeholders and customers, the DAA is delighted to present Terminal 2 as a significant enhancement to the travel experience at Dublin Airport and as a facility that will help attract additional incremental aviation business to Ireland’s capital city. The DAA is also very satisfied with the manner in which the new facility was constructed, the commitment and professionalism of all those who worked on it, and the quality of the asset they have delivered for generations to come.

About the Author

Ciaran Scanlon is a mechanical engineering graduate of University College Dublin and has more than 20 years senior career experience in the aviation and chemical processing industries. In his latest role, he has been responsible for leading the largest construction project in Ireland, Dublin Airport’s new passenger terminal, Terminal 2, which was delivered during 2010 on time and within budget. Prior to this, as Programme Director, he established and managed the Dublin Airport Authority’s Transforming Dublin Airport investment programme comprising over 120 separate projects to a minimum value of €5 million.

In the chemical processing sector he held a number of senior management roles including, Engineering & Facilities Manager, Project Engineering Manager and Maintenance Manager for a range of companies where his responsibilities included overseas assignments in the USA and Europe.

Ciaran plans to build on his recent experience at Dublin Airport to seek new leadership roles in airport development programmes or complex transport related projects, outside Ireland.

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