Biggest airport change in 35 years
It has been 20 months in the planning and the go-ahead has now been given for a significant terminal redevelopment plan, at a cost of £13 million.
The project, which will take three years to complete, will totally alter the look and feel of the terminal, including a larger lounge area, more retail opportunities, refreshed arrivals products with new reclaims belts for both domestic and international passengers, and a state-of-the-art new security search area.
The project will see the airside area (those parts of the terminal after security) significantly increased with security brought forward, freeing up more space for new catering and shopping facilities. The British Airways and Servisair lounges will increase with some of those customers being afforded exciting views across the runway. The process to relocate security will itself result in a completely refurbished search area with new technology and more search lanes, all installed whilst meeting strict regulatory requirements.
Work began on the blueprint nearly two years ago and within the last week the Heathrow Airport Holdings board signed off the significant investment – reflecting the importance of Aberdeen International Airport to the local area .
Based on current forecasts, this new plan will provide the capacity for passenger growth up to 2028, as well as addressing the current constraints. The plans themselves have been tested by independent consultants to ensure they are “future-proof”, but importantly were all based on feedback from passengers and the wider North-east community. Passenger numbers are expected to grow by 20% over the coming 6 years and the new layout and facilities have been designed around their needs.
Carol Benzie is the airport MD, who has been working on this project since its initial stages. “Make no mistake; we understand the need that exists. This terminal was opened in 1977 and what we are about to embark upon is the biggest change since that time. This is a resounding show of support from our executive board and reflects their confidence in the growing Aberdeen market. Whilst work has already begun to enable this project to start, the bulk of work on site will be visible from the third quarter of 2014.
“Our business is growing. This region is growing. We are working on an ongoing basis to secure new routes, particularly leisure services, and to give our customers an airport that they can continue to be proud of. We are working closely with local developers to create an airport city concept that will have our airport at its heart. We are working and engaging with local authorities and government to drive forward the local infrastructure issues. There are a lot of good things going on just now which demonstrates that this part of the country really does punch above its weight. This blueprint for the future shows a commitment to maintaining that momentum.”
Roger Hunt is the Operations Director. “I am delighted that we are now in a position to push forward with this exciting plan. It is going to be a considerable challenge to completely redevelop the terminal at the same time as remaining fully operational, however it is one I am thrilled to see us getting the opportunity to deliver. It is clear to everyone that our business has out-grown the current terminal building and it would not withstand the growth we are predicting. The wider airport team do a fantastic job to manage the operation around the current constraints but we want to provide them with a terminal that allows them to keep delivering against our customer charter and which works with them and not against them.”
Scotland’s Transport Minister Keith Brown said: “These are exciting times at Aberdeen International Airport and the plans to redevelop the terminal will only help to build on the airport’s success.
"It is great news for both passengers and staff with the new facilities set to improve the entire airport experience, from upgrading the security area and baggage belts to allowing more space for shops and restaurants.
"These plans mean Aberdeen International Airport will continue to be an attractive option for travellers and airlines in the future.”
Ian Armstrong is the Grampian regional director for SCDI. He said: “The Airport is a critical piece of infrastructure for the North East and SCDI warmly welcomes the plans to significantly enhance the facilities. It will provide major benefits to passengers and will assist the region in maintaining its economic competitiveness”.
Steve Harris is from VisitAberdeen. He said: “VisitAberdeen is delighted that Aberdeen International Airport has gained approval from its main company board for its very significant investment proposals. The plans are a major step forward that will prepare the airport for the years to come. The airport is vital to us in that it creates the first and last impressions of the city for millions of our visitors each year. In addition, it provides the most crucial part of our connectivity to the rest of the world. Development enhances the opportunities for growth."
- £13 million investment
- Work to begin in 2014, complete by 2017
- Expansion of departures lounge, new catering and retail opportunities, domestic and international arrival improvements including new reclaim facilities, a brand new security search area, and increased executive lounge capacity.
- Seen as a show of support for the Aberdeen team as growth continues.