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1 INTRODUCTION On June 6 and 7, 1989, a group of 22 professionals met at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., to explore the roles that airport passenger terminal buildings play in the nation's air transport system, technology and passenger travel trends, and what these trends may mean for future airport ter- minal buildings. In particular, workshop participants were asked two questions: (l) What do policymakers and planning and design professionals responsible for terminal buildings need to know for the future? (2) What should be done to help these policymakers and professionals learn what they need to know? Workshop par- ticipants--airport planners and operators, airline executives, equipment manufacturers, terminal building users, and govern- ment officials--were invited as individuals concerned about the nation's ability to meet its future air transport needs, rather than as representatives of particular interests. (Participants are listed in Appendix B.) Passenger terminals, while locally owned and operated, com- prise a major element of the nation's air transport system. There is a growing concern within the industry and among the public at large--as reflected in the popular press and professional publications--that there is indeed much to be learned to make these facilities a more fully effective part of the system. The U.S. passenger-airline industry has grown during the past decade in ways that have required significant changes in how airport terminal buildings are used and operated. Many terminal building complexes that were designed for domestic passengers traveling nonstop from their cities of origin to their destinations lack flexibility and adaptability. This makes it difficult to adapt facilities to serve international passengers or large numbers of domestic passengers transferring between flights in an airline hub-and-spoke system. Changes in passenger- terminal services, air carrier operations, aircraft characteristics, security systems, and airport equipment typically offer improved
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service and efficiency for airlines or passengers but also pose new design problems and costs. Airports represent a major investment that can influence local, regional, and national economies as well as individual passengers, comfort and convenience. In the face of rapid growth in demand for air travel, airport operators around the country have had to renovate, expand, or replace their passenger-terminal facilities. Airlines and other users of most airports pay for all or a portion of the costs of these facilities through their rents and service fees, and so have a strong interest in the costs of design, construction, and operation. These costs and the quality of air- port service are in turn felt by airline passengers, shippers, other businesses and sometimes by the public at large. Because there are no generally accepted standards for judg- ing service levels in terminal buildings, it is sometimes difficult for operators, builders, airlines, and other users of these facilities to reach a consensus about design and operating requirements for terminal buildings at each airport. A 1987 TRB study on Measur- ing Airport Landside Capacity2 concluded that such standards are unlikely to be developed except through a process that can identify and resolve the sometimes conflicting interests of the various airport users. Airport operators and airline passengers, recognizing the understandable desires of airlines to minimize their operating costs, need balanced information on what levels of service are appropriate, desirable, and affordable at the nation's diverse airports. Designers of aircraft and support equipment place demands on the passenger-terminal building that influence capital requirements and operating costs of airlines and airport operators. Federal, state, and local government agencies that have interests in airports and the nation's air transport system need information to make informed decisions about future build- ing and other facilities investment. Workshop participants were invited to present their own viewpoints on these various concerns, and then to work together to suggest what can be done to ensure that future airport passenger terminals function effectively and to meet the growing service requirements of all users within the nation's air transport system. 2 Measuring Airport Landside Capacity, Special Report 215, Transportation Research Board, Washington, D.C., 1987. 2