Tuesday, July 23, 2024
From the WireProjectsVideo

Europe’s Biggest $4BN Airport Expansion

This is the $4 billion dollar upgrade of one of Europe’s busiest airports. Located in Germany, Frankfurt’s International Airport is currently undergoing a massive expansion to accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors. More than 800 companies are involved in building an entirely new terminal, making it one of the largest construction projects on the continent. The project is being done in three phases, with completion expected in 2026. The new terminal will have improved access for visitors by car and through the Sky-line system. It will feature a departure hall, arrival hall, security check area, and marketplace/lounge. The expansion will increase the airport’s capacity by 19 million visitors per year, creating job opportunities and taking steps to reduce energy and water consumption for environmental sustainability.

Phase 1 of the Expansion

Construction of the New Terminal

Frankfurt’s International Airport is currently undergoing a massive expansion project, with the construction of a new terminal as the main focus of Phase 1. The new terminal will be located in the southern part of the airport, replacing an American base that closed in 2005. The construction will be completed in three separate phases, with the main bulk of the project being built in Phase 1. This phase includes the construction of the main terminal hall, two piers (H and J), a new apron tower, and all the necessary infrastructure surrounding the terminal.

Improved Visitor Access by Car

To enhance visitor access to the new terminal, there will be a drive-in platform located directly in front of the departure hall. This drive-in platform will be 11 meters high and half a kilometer long, providing convenient access for visitors arriving by car. Additionally, an 8-story parking garage with a capacity of 8,500 vehicles will be built to accommodate the increased number of cars.

Improved Visitor Access through the Sky-line System

Another option for visitors to reach the new terminal is through the Sky-line system. The Sky-line is a driverless double-track system that will connect the airport’s train station at Terminal 1 with the new terminal in just 8 minutes. This system will provide a convenient and efficient way for visitors to access the new terminal using public transport.

Phase 2 of the Expansion

Main Terminal Hall Features

The main terminal hall, which is a key feature of the expansion, will consist of three zones. The first zone will be a spacious hall split into two floors, with the upper floor serving as a departure hall directly accessible from the drive-in platform, and the lower floor serving as an arrival hall. The second zone will be the security check area, which will lead directly into the third zone, a futuristic marketplace and lounge. The interior design of the main terminal hall will focus on creating a pleasant ambience for visitors, with features such as a wavy, reflective steel ceiling that creates a unique shifting effect using daylight.

Construction of the Piers in Modules

The piers, which will be directly connected to the main terminal building, will be constructed in short modules. This modular construction approach allows for flexible expansion in the future by adding more sections to the piers. Each pier will have a slightly different interior design while still following the overall vision of comfort. This modular construction method ensures that the airport can easily adapt to changes in visitor demand and maintain efficient operations.

Project Challenges

Water Flooding During Excavation

During the excavation of the underground parts of the main terminal building, the construction team faced a unique challenge. As they dug deeper, they encountered soil that was fully saturated with water, resulting in water flooding the site and forming a small lake. To overcome this challenge, the team had to fixate the bottom of the pit with concrete before pumping out the water and repurposing it later. Specially trained industrial divers with purpose-built suits were brought in to dive to the bottom and supervise the concrete curing process.

Need for Precise Construction Methods

The construction of the main terminal building presented another challenge when it came to building its roof, which has a size equivalent to two-and-a-half soccer fields. The initial plan was to lift the roof in a single piece using two cranes on opposite sides of the building. However, due to the construction of pier G in front of the main hall, there wasn’t enough space to carry out this plan. As a result, the construction team had to choose a more time-consuming option that required extreme precision. The roof had to be split into five pieces and individually lifted onto sleds as part of a supporting structure on top of the building. This complex process took more than six months to complete.

Phase 3 of the Expansion

Expected Completion Date

The completion of the expansion project, including all three phases, is expected in 2026. The project has made significant progress since construction began in 2015, despite facing challenges such as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The temporary closure of Terminal 2 will allow for renovation activities, ensuring that the airport can continue to handle visitors smoothly while the expansion project progresses.

Increase in Airport Capacity

The expansion project will increase the airport’s capacity by an additional 19 million visitors per year. This increase in capacity will help accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors to Frankfurt’s International Airport and ensure that waiting times are reduced.

Job Opportunities Created

The expansion project will also create thousands of job opportunities, adding to the airport’s current workforce of nearly 81,000 employees. This boost in employment will have a positive impact on the local economy and provide valuable opportunities for individuals seeking employment in the aviation industry.

Environmental Considerations

Measures to Reduce Energy Consumption

Fraport, the owner of Frankfurt Airport, has considered environmental concerns in the planning of the new Terminal 3. Various measures have been implemented to reduce energy consumption, including the use of renewable energy sources. By 2026, the airport aims to satisfy 85% of its energy demand through renewable energies. Solar panels will be placed on the roof of Terminal 3 and its parking facility to contribute to this goal. The ultimate ambition is to achieve net-zero emissions for the entire airport by 2045.

Measures to Reduce Water Consumption

In addition to efforts to reduce energy consumption, measures have been taken to reduce water consumption at Frankfurt Airport. Specific strategies and technologies will be implemented to ensure efficient water usage throughout the expanded airport, contributing to sustainability efforts and responsible resource management.

Temporary Closure of Terminal 2

Renovation Activities Planned

After the opening of Terminal 3, Terminal 2 will undergo temporary closure for renovation activities. This temporary closure will allow for necessary upgrades and improvements to be made to Terminal 2, ensuring that it can continue to accommodate visitors efficiently and effectively. The renovation activities will further enhance the overall airport experience for travelers.

Future Expansion Plans

Construction of Pier K to Handle Additional Passengers

Looking ahead, future expansion plans include the construction of Pier K to handle additional passengers. As visitor demand continues to grow, the flexibility of modular construction will allow for the expansion of the airport’s capacity through the addition of more sections to the piers. This strategic approach to expansion ensures that Frankfurt’s International Airport can adapt to changing needs and maintain its position as a major international hub.

In conclusion, Frankfurt’s International Airport is undergoing a significant expansion project to accommodate the increasing number of visitors. The construction of a new terminal, piers, and infrastructure will enhance visitor access and increase the airport’s capacity. Despite facing challenges such as water flooding during excavation and the need for precise construction methods, the project has made significant progress, with completion expected in 2026. Environmental considerations, such as measures to reduce energy and water consumption, have been incorporated into the expansion plans. Additionally, the expansion will create job opportunities and contribute to the local economy. Further expansion plans, such as the construction of Pier K, will ensure that Frankfurt’s International Airport can continue to meet the needs of its visitors in the future.

This is your chance to witness Europe’s biggest $4BN airport expansion. Located in Germany, Frankfurt’s International Airport is currently undergoing a massive upgrade to accommodate the ever-increasing number of visitors.

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