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A hometown favorite, the airport’s original 1930 terminal is outdated and feels small and overcrowded.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.
The right combination of existing and new design elements can create a functional modern airport facility. Although the replacement terminal will be a change for the airport’s regular visitors, it will still feel like home and arriving passengers will know they have landed at Hollywood Burbank Airport.
Industrywide, the design and use of airport terminals is in the midst of a significant shift. Terminals of the future must integrate evolving security standards, embrace new technologies and focus on customer service for the passenger. However, the designer must be able to envision not only what is needed today, but anticipate passenger needs well into the future.
According to an America THINKS survey from HNTB Corp., modern air travel can recapture its glamour and appeal by incorporating new technology and better amenities into passengers’ everyday experience. Displeasure with long lines inside the terminal and on the tarmac, security checkpoints and limited food choices often have been typical reasons millions express dislike when flying. Design changes, both landside and airside, such as those planned for Hollywood Burbank Airport’s replacement terminal, are not only necessary to keep pace with future travel mobility, but these enhancements also assure a positive impact on the overall travel experience.
The Hollywood Burbank Airport replacement terminal is a win-win for Burbank, the San Fernando Valley and the greater Los Angeles region, and the traveling public.
Burbank voters are in the pilot’s seat. They have a golden opportunity to fly into the 21st century by approving the proposed replacement terminal. It’s a bold decision that will provide many economic benefits and offer an enhanced travel experience for the 3.9 million passengers that pass through the airport annually.
Allen W. Berentes is associate vice president, aviation studio leader, for HNTB Corp., an engineering and architecture firm in Kansas City, Mo. HNTB has been involved in many airport projects, including the Bradley West Terminal modernization project at Los Angeles International Airport.