The Hollywood Burbank Airport’s proposed replacement terminal’s fate is in the hands of the city’s estimated 64,000 registered voters. The time has come to make way for a replacement terminal that can deliver needed safety and seismic upgrades, more modern traveler amenities and yet still retain its heritage of convenience and accessibility. With no taxpayer money required to fund the project, long-term sustained economic returns and Burbank’s control over critical decisions, Measure B should be green lighted by voters in November.
A hometown favorite, the airport’s original 1930 terminal is outdated and feels small and overcrowded. It lacks required Federal Aviation Administration safety upgrades and is vulnerable to earthquake damage when the big one hits. After 86 years, the terminal deserves to be brought up to the latest standards for 21st century travelers, while continuing to deliver its traditional convenience for travelers.
As airport design architects, we understand that every airport renovation project has unique design challenges that must be considered, including differing opinions by those who want change, and by those who don’t. By engaging in a coordinated, collaborative effort, it’s possible to find common ground and move the project forward because the replacement terminal is not an all-or-nothing proposition. It will be the right balance between preservation and modernization for the benefit of the community and airport users.
With the right design, the current airport terminal experience can be preserved with all the familiar characteristics travelers appreciate – easy airport access, boarding from the front and rear of passenger planes, close-in parking and utilizing just 14 gates. None of those conveniences are at risk – they are incorporated into the replacement terminal design, which will provide modern airport terminal amenities including centralized TSA screening, more spacious waiting areas, ADA compliance and greater access to and choice of concessions.
A modern replacement terminal has a trifecta of benefits – a compliant and seismically safe structure, more efficient operations for the airlines and less waiting and more convenience for travelers that fly in and out of the airport.
When HNTB’s aviation architects were engaged to redesign the Santa Barbara Airport Terminal, they encountered many community, facility design and operational challenges that are similar to this project. Yet upon successful completion, the new terminal design was able to preserve the city’s unique infrastructure asset (down to its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture) and still create one of the most compact, efficient and intimately scaled terminals ever seen, which also earned a Silver LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.