This report aims to highlight on the plans carried out during the implementation of expansion of Melbourne International airport. Background, planning implementation and strategies carried out by project teams are discussed and findings are presented through in depth analysis.
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Melbourne airport is the main airport that provides air services to Melbourne city. In addition, the airport is the 2nd most active airport in Australia. Having commenced in the year 1970, the airport has evolved to become the only exclusive international airport that serves the metropolitan area. The airport also boasts of being the 4th most toured air route in the globe. It serves 33 direct destinations that link to other parts of Australia, including international hubs in Africa, Europe among others. It acts as the main hub of Qantas and Virgin airlines, Australia division (Ellis 2006).
When it comes to Cargo, the airport acts the most active when it comes to international export freight while at the same time acting as the second most active in import freight (Albertini 2008).
Melbourne Airport Airfield Infrastructure Planning and Building Works for the Airbus A380 Aircraft Operations
The entrance of the new Airbus A380 into our skies signaled the beginning of expansion plans in most international airports all around the globe. Pundits have labeled the new Airbus as a splendid giant, the five hundred and sixty tone machine with wings that spans a massive fifteen meters wider than the jumbo. It has over five hundred and thirty kilometers of wiring which contributed to delays in delivery to customers. The passenger version can carry up to five hundred and fifty passengers (Melbourne’s Airport 2003).
Following preliminary studies conducted by consultative project teams, Firms in the project had to conduct concept stage studies that included the development of design criterion founded on international standards. Planning also included the analysis of design codes and prior evaluation of construction methods. This was all done to go with procedural constraints to ensure that the airport would remain fully operational during the expansion period.
The international terminal was widened by five thousand squared meters with emphasis placed on increasing seating capacity and construction of a 3rd level that is home to airline lounges. The gates (gate nine and eleven) were integrated with aerobridges that can hold at least one A380 at a time. This greatly reduced the turnaround time for the planes being served by the airport. The aerobridges facilitate the boarding and disembarking of passengers from the double-decker airplane. There was also the addition of baggage carousel within arrival halls.
The project involved the close participation of planning and development consultants together with officials from the Melbourne airport. Close participation assisted in minimizing passenger and cargo traffic disruptions within the airport. Planning of the expansion included the design of intricate multi level spaces that hosted the high movement of passengers through the terminals. The terminals also required complex functionalities such as comfort and convenience for its users. Planning of the expansion was greatly aided by 3D animations as provided by Connell Wagner. Project architects were successful in illustrating the modifications to be done on the terminal and how it would cope with increase in passenger traffic. This significantly increased savings on time and money as it introduced a creative approach from an engineering standpoint. This together with close collaboration assisted, not only timely project completion but also making of better informed decisions (Harrison 2000).
Total Costs of Melbourne Airport Airfield and Terminal Works for the Airbus A380 Aircraft Operations
The Melbourne airport invested over two hundred and twenty million dollars in its expansion program which included the plans to accommodate the massive airbus. The expansion program included work on terminal precinct, runway among other facilities. This was done to offer support to the expected rise in the number of passengers that the airbus caries. The airport boasts of being the sole airport that can comfortably accommodate the “splendid giant”. Work also went into extending the width of North South Runway by fifteen meters. It cost fifty million dollars for this task alone. This brings home the massive work that was needed for the project (Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) 2005).
Strategies Implemented by Melbourne Airport to Mitigate Disruption to Commercial Operations during Airfield/Terminal Infrastructure Works for the Airbus A380 Aircraft
The international state of the airport provided project engineers with the laborious task of ensuring that the project could be coordinated with minimum disruption to the daily routine within the airport. The engineers had to ensure that there was a daily interaction between the project and 24/7 operations. The strategies implemented by the engineers included the modification of work zones, procedures among other tasks. Shifts in normal timetable were necessary to allow work to be carried within out of office hours. The major challenge to minimizing disruption to normal services was orienting passengers and airport officials on the changes in procedures that followed the expansion of the airport (Dempsey 2000). The fact that expansion work was to be integrated with existing infrastructure introduced major challenges to project completion. A good example of this was highlighted by the hidden sewer lines that were spotted within the location where bored piles were to be placed. This necessitated in the designing of a new foundation system. The new redesigned foundation was made from multiple micropiles.
Other strategies implemented by project engineers include proper site measuring. This was done to arrange out where everything was in the first place. Expansion work was sometimes allowed within a 4 to 5 hour window during off peak hours which was normally at night.
Expansion of the airport to accommodate the Airbus A380 was completed after twenty nine days and this was greatly aided by close participation of project teams. The wishes of Melbourne airport officials were respected as the work followed the runway closure for four weeks and a program that enabled construction tasks to be carried out over a span of 24 hours,7 days each week. The wide range of experience held by the project team members and experience allowed the development of favorable outcomes that tackled the severe limitations that were created by the project. The A380 being as massive as it is requires dedicated support as the traffic introduced by the aircraft can quickly cripple an airport that has not been designed for such an airplane. Both passengers and cargo traffic have to be kept in mind when accommodating the plane. With this hindsight, Melbourne airport took a proactive approach rather than to wait in expanding its facilities to accommodate the plane. Regardless of both financial and time constraints, the project ended up as a success due to efficient planning and implementation of objectives set forth by project teams
Albertini, C. A380 Airplane Characteristics Rev: 2008. (PDF). Airbus. Web.
Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne). (2005). Melbourne Airport: master plan: preliminary draft. Australia Pacific Airports (Melbourne) Pty. Ltd.
Dempsey, P. (2000). Airport planning and development handbook: a global survey. McGraw-Hill Professional,
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Ellis, F. (2006). Aerospace Notebook: It’s no cruise ship of the sky, but A380 is raising the bar for comfort. Web.
Harrison, M. (24 June 2000). Airbus opens its books for the world’s biggest jumbo. But is it a plane too far?. The Independent (UK).
Melbourne’s Airport – A World Class Operator. Melbourne Airport Media Releases. 2003. Web.
Movements at Australian Airports (PDF). Airservices Australia. 2010. Web.