The National Academies

ACRP 07-07 [Final]

Evaluating Terminal Renewal versus Replacement Options

  Project Data
Funds: $400,000
Research Agency: Ricondo & Associates
Principal Investigator: Joe Chang
Effective Date: 8/16/2010
Completion Date: 3/15/2011

Many airport terminal facilities (e.g., terminal buildings, parking garages, and terminal roadways) are nearing the end of their design life and/or are becoming functionally obsolete. In addition, airline industry changes have reduced the need for demand-driven expansion. These changes, as well as the financial state of most airlines, put an additional financial burden on airport operators to maintain current rates and charges.  Very often, components of terminal facilities reach the end of their useful life or become significantly outdated long before the structural integrity of the facility reaches the end of its useful life. However, these components, such as mechanical and IT systems, can be very difficult and costly to replace without major impacts to the facility and disruption to ongoing operations. Further compounding the issue is the lack of space at many airports to simply construct replacement facilities and avoid much of the complexity of renovating existing facilities without significantly disrupting passengers or ongoing operations. Airports with adequate space face tough scrutiny from the airlines to provide significant justification that new facilities are a more financially feasible solution than renewing the current facilities.
Thorough analysis of the myriad relevant factors is required in order to decide whether to renew existing facilities or construct replacement facilities, particularly when the new facilities are not demand-driven. This detailed analysis is typically not included at the Master Plan level but should occur before facility programming and schematic design services are commissioned. Nor can this analysis be conducted by simply comparing the initial capital cost of multiple options but rather must provide a total life-cycle cost outcome perspective.  These issues can be further compounded by multiple, competing and conflicting interests by the various stakeholders. Achieving consensus on the most effective solution can be difficult without a set of decision-making tools.
The objective of this research is to develop a guidebook that provides a decision-making process and associated tools that can be used by airport operators, airlines, and consultants in evaluating options to renovate existing terminal facilities or replace them with new facilities. Some of the contributing factors of these decision-making tools should include life-cycle cost, airside/landside and terminal capacity in relation to passenger demand, facilities obsolescence and condition, development risk, development schedule, changes in regulatory requirements, airline needs, operational constraints, tenant make-up, and airport business model.
Status: This research has been published as Report 68.  Background information on the research can be found on the Contractor's Final Report

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