Passenger terminal buildings are designed to handle passengers while they transfer from a ground transport mode to an air transport mode, and reciprocally. Capacity is a key information, required to:
- calculate how much traffic can be handled by the facility,
- estimate the predictable time of congestion due to traffic growth,
- find the most restraining parts of the facility.
This technical guide aims at proposing several methods that can be directly used to determine the capacity of a passenger terminal building, with different levels of accuracy and complexity. it is mainly addressed to airports, airlines, regulation authorities, architects and engineering consultants involved in passenger terminal sizing and design.
The document describes some general principles, and then outlines the passenger terminal building in the airport system.
It covers in detail the passenger terminal processes and the notion of reference traffic, before reviewing the parameters impacting capacity.
Three methods are proposed, made for different purposes and corresponding to different levels of accuracy: the simplified global method, the “macroscopic” method and the “microscopic” method by simulation.
Eventually, the relations between peak hour capacity and annual capacity is discussed, as well as the relations between capacity in number of movements and number of passengers.
In the end, some ideas are proposed for future improvements in capacity optimization and flow management.
Designing and sizing a facility is the reverse approach: from a given passenger traffic, the goal is to define the structural characteristics of the building (space, number of processing equipments) to be able to handle the passenger flow, with a targeted quality of service and given its exploitation mode.
The document is focused on capacity assessment. However, it is relatively easy to reverse the formulas, turning them into sizing rules.
Elements concerning Level of Service issues described in this document were inspired from IATA manuals and are no longer up to date. Since the document was written, some major updates of the related concepts have been made.
Please refer to the latest version of the IATA Airport Development Reference Manual (ADRM) for further details.