Airports are amazing places. When you think of all that goes on, from keeping track of how many people are on each flight, directing luggage to the correct plane, air traffic control and everything in between, it’s a wonder more doesn’t go awry.
Here, we look into three of the world’s most advanced airports and the technology behind them.
London Heathrow Terminal 5
A snip at £4.3 billion, Terminal 5 at Heathrow promised to revolutionise air travel with redesigned check-in and departure procedures and a luggage system that works in conjunction with everything else to make sure it only boards the plane if you do. This is designed to cut out delays due to an offloaded bag.
There are almost 100 self-service check-in desks, 54 manned desks and 90 check-in fast bag drops in order to make the process as efficient as possible. It also houses 20 security lanes, 11 baggage reclaim belts which can process up to 12,000 bags per hour.
The technological developments also extend to the car parking system. The multi-storey short-stay car park has a system which leads drivers to the most convenient free bay and there are even has a system to help drivers find their car if they have forgotten where they parked.
Dubai International Airport
The futuristic Sheikh Rashid Terminal features 27 boarding gates, 47 aerobridges and state of the art landing systems in the control tower takes care of arriving Dubai flights. The terminal also incorporates a 100 room hotel, complete with restaurants, health spa, swimming pool and a fully equipped business and conference centre. Duty free shopping for is also available 24 hours a day.
Dubai International Airport is also taking measures to reduce waiting times at immigration controls. Passengers can use a special smart card and their fingerprints to go through a fully automated e-gate in under 10 seconds.
Madrid Barajas International Airport
The opening of Terminal 4 in February 2006 made Madrid Barajas the world’s largest airport in terms of terminal area, weighing in at more than one million square metres.
The building incorporates a range of environmentally friendly technology such as energy efficient cooling systems, roof lights and zonal lighting.
A satellite building is connected to the new building by means of an Automatic People Mover (APM) which covers a distance of 2,100m. The automated baggage handling system handles up to 16,500 pieces of luggage per hour on its 78km belt.
Two more runways were added to Barajas during the construction of Terminal 4 which allow for simultaneous take-offs and landings at the rate of 120 operations an hour.
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