INTERVIEW. “An Airport is a Small City”

INTERVIEW. “An Airport is a Small City”

Software designer Bentley Systems offers a set of solutions for airport design that includes airfields, access roads, parking lots, maintenance buildings and the airport itself. It also includes the new passenger experience paradigm. We spoke with Andy Smith, product management director.


AeroExpo e-magazine: Why is Bentley Systems interested in projects like airports?

Andy Smith: Airports are part of the critical infrastructure of economies. They contribute significantly to the local economies for transportation and tourism. They are like small cities. And like cities, airports imply dealing with a lot of data and lots of formats. And our software can handle the complexity of such projects, for example the structural systems, the use of space.

AeroExpo e-magazine: What are these tools?

Andy Smith: LumenRT enables you to visualize and communicate the design idea with realistic renderings and animations so that everyone involved in the project can understand the scope and benefits of the project. ContextCapture allows you to design in context with the existing conditions of a building by starting with an accurate geospatially located reality model created from photographs. ProjectWise improves facility operations and performance by using a connected data environment that captures asset information during design and construction.

AeroExpo e-magazine: What is the main focus people must have in mind when designing an airport today?

Andy Smith: Geolocating assets. For example, architects may want to know the exact positioning of the airfield for aerial drones safeguarding requirements. They may need to know the location of a major gas supply line in a valve. Our software has the ability to use gecoordinate systems and we can align these between our civil products and our building products so you can locate things along the airport campus.

AeroExpo e-magazine: How do your solutions handle the new and essential passenger experience paradigm?

Andy Smith: The passenger experience has indeed become very important. If you take Singapore airport for example, it is not just an airport. It’s a destination in itself with movie theaters, a swimming pool, retail shopping. It’s a place to go! For a traveler, the passenger experience is influenced by the quality of space, the path of travel from arrival to boarding a plane and the convenient and inconvenient stops along the way. To define that journey, architects and facility managers have to design the layout spaces. Our visual reports provide design insight to evaluate space and paths of travel, locate advertisements and artwork, locate retail establishments, wayfinding signage. And thanks to this, the architect can decide where he wants to take a traveller through that journey.

AeroExpo e-magazine: One important thing in designing an airport is also to deal with millions of passengers.

Andy Smith: Airport terminal planning indeed requires the evaluation of people capacity planning from point of arrival, ticketing, through security to boarding an aircraft.  Pedestrian simulation allows designers to better design corridor widths, passageways, and boarding areas to comfortably meet passenger demands perhaps making the passenger experience more pleasant. Airport facility managers can also use real-time people movement, escalator and travelator monitoring as compared to an operational BIM to understand and make adjustments in operational use to improve facility performance.


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