Story

Enhancing the Passenger Experience

Focus Area Federal Inspection Services

Overhead rendering of the multiple elements in the new IAH Airport International Terminal: curbside, check-in and concession.

Generating economic benefit by elevating airports from necessity to preference

In 2019, over 135 million international air travelers entered the United States, an increase of nearly 33% over the previous six years, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). This growth in international travel makes the Federal Inspection Services (FIS) a critical element of airport operations. Page has experience designing and renovating FIS facilities at general aviation, regional and large international HUB airports, including one of the largest in the U.S.

Page teams approach each FIS project with three key objectives to elevate the passenger experience: customer service, convenience and efficiency through expedited wait times. Each airport and municipal client also has additional, key needs to be met through design.

Airport travel and tourism facilitation initiatives at the 17 busiest U.S. international airports are associated with the federal government’s National Travel and Tourism Strategy. Page's FIS expansion at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) was identified as an example of innovative design to be emulated at other airports in the Government Accountability Office (GAO) 2017 report on International Air Travelers.

Services

  • Architecture
  • Aviation
  • Branding / Graphics
  • Building Sciences
  • Civic / Government
  • Engineering
  • Interiors
  • Strategies / Analytics

Careful balancing act

How do you disrupt one of the busiest airports in the US in one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation to expand in the name of improved customer service? The answer is “very carefully”. Page collaborated with HOK to provide architecture and engineering services for a renovation and expansion of the nation’s eighth busiest international gateway and the second fastest growing since 2001, which has seen international passenger traffic more than quadruple in 15 years.

Rendering of cars arriving at the new IAH International Terminal and passengers walking inside the building
© HOK

The Intercontinental Airport at Houston (IAH) project included renovations to the existing 782,550 square foot facility and an expansion of approximately 250,000 square feet to accommodate future growth. The passenger experience was elevated through a new landside processor and expanded arrivals hall. The facility includes consolidated ticketing, Security Screening Check Point (SSCP), increased curbside and baggage handling capacity, and new concessions. The project was phased in multiple design packages to allow for continuous operation of all services.

Overhead rendering of cars arriving at the new IAH International Terminal
© HOK

Speeding up service

The renovated SSCP at Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) serves as a circulation hub and an orientation device that draws passengers in from drop-off and ticketing areas and directs them out to gates. The large, flexible space expands in the center to accommodate up to 10 lanes of screening devices and tapers at either end to funnel traffic. A high ceiling, daylit spaces and color-based wayfinding present passengers with a clear view of their path.

Airport passengers going through TSA screening
© Tim Griffith

Baggage first

The expansion at AUS was the first in the United States to implement what is now called “baggage first”. The traditional two-step process of passport review and duty evaluation were simplified into a single step by relocating baggage claim. The results are shorter lines and fewer required personnel, and passenger processing capacity has been increased from 100 to 600/hour.

Second story view of passengers descending by escalator to baggage claim and Customs.
© Tim Griffith
View of baggage claim and Customs from the top of an escalator
© Tim Griffith

Designing for today in anticipation for tomorrow

The general aviation airport in Addison, Texas (ADS) initially had several options to achieve its objective of adding a new FIS facility. The Page project team began with key stakeholder engagement sessions to truly understand various user needs. They then conducted a detailed site analysis to understand opportunities, development restrictions and identify future uses so their recommendations could remain aligned with the airport master plan.

Rendering of a two-story airport building
© Page

Scale, scope and statistics

  • #1 THE LARGEST FIS FACILITY OF ITS KIND IN THE US
  • 784,000 SF FLOOR SPACE OF FIS AT IAH
  • 4,500 PASSENGER/HOUR PROCESSING CAPABILITY AT IAH

Testimonial

Architects on airports

“Airports play a tremendously significant role in creating passenger experiences that can powerfully shape the first impression a traveler has of a new city. Collaboration between architects, engineers, and airport personnel is critical to designing facilities that deliver the best results for a seamless travel experience.”

Luisina Basilico AIA

Page Principal / Design

Austin Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)
Awards

  • Design-Build Institute of America Merit Award, Aviation Category
  • American Institute of Steel Construction National IDEAS² Award
  • Society of American Registered Architects, Merit Award

United Airlines Data Center
Awards

  • Uptime Institute’s Brill Global Leadership Award

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