Precincts and Airport Ecosystems

July 6, 2023 / Ben Dawson

Welcome to our 4th news blog focusing on Aviation Design and Precincts and Airport Ecosystems. 

Spending time listening and speaking with aviation experts and enthusiasts around the globe, it’s very clear that airport operators are more and more often looking at an airport precinct as an ecosystem for passengers, staff and the wider community: a destination in itself.

After the major disruptions to travel of the past few years, airports are increasingly looking well beyond their terminal buildings to the integration with surrounding infrastructure such as access roads, green areas and public transport as well as to retail, MICE and entertainment activities.

A few years ago, Populous were invited to help a major Global Airport Operator in their masterplan amid concerns about the growing footprint of the terminals and the impact on the surrounding suburbs and the environment.

An airport can showcase a city, it can host events and become a place that adds value to the local community as well as being a welcome part of a traveller’s journey.

At Munich Airport, Populous are building an indoor arena, called MUCcc Arena.

Our skills and deep expertise revolve around designing the best possible experiences for big crowds in large places, often where a large venue like an arena or convention centre is the anchor for a much wider masterplan.

There are so many parallels with the travel industry and so we find it’s a natural process to bring insights from the operation of say the Super Bowl or Philippine Arena to working with airports.

Through stakeholder discussions with the community, and a detailed customer journey mapping exercise, we identified a number of services within and around the a major European airport that would help it grow in a more sustainable way, linking with local retail, commercial offices, greenspace and community facilities and ultimately, removing all private cars and car parking from the site: turning that space over to other activities.

As we look ahead, there are also opportunities related to how we connect airports with cities in new ways, including eVTOL. Is short, the conversations at various conferences this year, have reinforced that there is a lot to look forward to, and despite the numerous challenges around sustainability, there are opportunities to develop new solutions in which the airport is not just a point to arrive and depart from a destination, but is a destination in itself, with greater integration with their local communities to the mutual benefit of operations, passengers, staff and the city in which the airport lives.

If you’d like to get in touch, please leave a comment or DM myself, Geoffrey Ax or Pedro Villanueva on LinkedIn.

And look out for Pedro’s next post about Sustainability next week!

Meet the author

Ben Dawson

Principal, Head of Aviation – APAC / Singapore


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