Last week, five members of our transportation team travelled to Amsterdam to attend the Passenger Terminal Expo 2023, the 25th anniversary of the international event dedicated to designing and planning airports. By meeting various international experts, our architects Catherine Demers, Nicolas Ranger, Olivier Boucher, Kim Letendre, and Joannie Quirion were able to expand and deepen their knowledge and discover current trends in the field. Here are some of the topics that attracted the interest of our colleagues:
- Post-COVID resilience and the importance of designing more flexible airports that are able to better adapt to evolving needs and future situations.
- Sustainable airport design and operations, in a context in which air transportation must be reformed to meet targets for greenhouse gas emission reduction and to eventually become carbon neutral.
- The importance of planning facilities with clear wayfinding, of adjusting space to serve diverse users with limited mobility, and ultimately of successfully designing for universal accessibility to ensure social acceptance, efficient operations, and customer loyalty.
- The potential of using a “digital clone” of the actual facilities to train staff and to evaluate different scenarios for the use of space.
- The importance of reinforcing the connectivity and mobility between airport towns and the surrounding region to attract workers and companies that, for example, ship extensively by air, and of encouraging active transit and service sharing to create a dynamic and diverse place.
- Expressions of cultural identity, the inclusion of local and Indigenous cultures, hospitality, and the creation of a “sense of place” through architecture and art.
- Presentations of many terminal expansion projects in urban contexts similar, both in terms of aerial and terrestrial space, to that of Montréal-Trudeau airport and with challenges to maintaining quality of service.
- Compilations and analyses of hard, factual data, such as pedestrian and vehicular flows, which allow an understanding of user behaviour (of passengers, employees, related services staff, etc.) and a better response to needs.
- The future of advanced forms of aerial mobility—drones, “vertiports,” aerial taxis, electric regional airplanes—and their potential to service isolated communities, particularly those in northern contexts.
The team members were also able to perfect their knowledge about the challenges specific to airport operations and the agility needed to adapt to service disruptions caused by weather, health crises, or mechanical breakdowns. At the trade show, they discovered the latest innovations in airport equipment, such as mobile kiosks for check-in, baggage drop-off, and boarding, as well as equipment for search points.
In passing, we congratulate Aéroports de Montréal, which won first place for Best Airport Staff Service in North America at the 2023 Skytrax World Airport Awards presented at this Expo.