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Airport planning

Our aviation planners bring greater value and sustainability to airports worldwide.


Over 50 years, Arup’s expertise has enhanced value and passenger experience at many of the world’s largest and busiest hubs, including Atlanta, Beijing and Heathrow.

Yet, despite deep aviation experience we start each project, whatever the size, with fresh, systematic analysis.

Our plans smoothly negotiate the complex relationships between demand, capacity, connect time, passenger flow, regulation and investment. They are realised because they are fundable, buildable and deliverable without interrupting day-to-day operations.

A benchmark for efficiency

Our work is sought after because we have a reputation for setting new standards in aviation solutions.

For instance, Arup consulted early with JetBlue to help the airline deliver on its promise of efficient, convenient service at a low cost during the design of Terminal 5 at John F Kennedy Airport, New York. We stayed on as design manager for the terminal, which facilitates an industry-leading turnaround of aircraft in 30 minutes.

We continue to work with JetBlue to adapt for continued growth at JFK – the airline is now the airport’s largest by passenger traffic.

Assets that work harder

Future uncertainties, from climate change to shifting markets, mean than meeting demand at all costs is not a sustainable model for airports. We developed Future Airport Scenario Testing (FAST), a single model which allows airport investors and operators to make robust forecasts based on operational and capital costs, capacity and demand.

FAST informed strategic plans for new development of infrastructure at Africa’s largest airport, OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg.

Airports for the future

We help airlines, airport operators, developers and regulators navigate future possibilities. Whether reconsidering the customer experience or carbon emissions, Arup brings foresight.

Our future thinking is evident in conceptual studies such as Aviation 2040, which was commissioned by the Institute of Civil Engineers to forecast scenarios for UK aviation.

Equally, Arup is changing air travel now. At every step, our involvement in the opening of the world’s largest terminal building, Emirates Terminal 3, Dubai Airport, was high profile. We continue to work steadily with Dubai Airport on high-level planning to ensure its readiness for fast expansion now and also for aviation tomorrow.

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Global contact

Headshot of Ian Taylor
  • Ian Taylor

    Ian Taylor

    Headshot of Ian Taylor

    Director and East Asia Aviation Business Leader

    Your best solution to date?

    The Ground Transportation Centre and Airport Railway station at Hong Kong International Airport. Every time I use it I marvel at how the team managed to integrate ground transport so successfully; it's still the best in the world in my view. I’ve been involved in many great projects since, but I still think this one is particularly remarkable.

    Why is it significant?

    It's an exemplar for integration between rail and airport infrastructure and the road bridges are still among the most elegant of any airport in the world.

    Your particular skill?

    Leading teams of very clever people and helping them to reach decisions that deliver great outcomes. Maintaining focus on delivery, while allowing creativity and inventiveness to flourish.

    Enthusiasm?

    Working on Arup’s wonderful projects, with amazing colleagues and clients and my desire to deliver excellence for important public infrastructure.

    Why Arup?

    The great projects, the remarkable people and the ability to work in so many interesting places.

    Anything else?

    I feel fortunate whenever I see the great things that we do every day that make a positive difference to people’s lives.

  • Global Airport Planning

Explore our work


Berlin-Schönefeld Tower control. Credit: Arup

Project: Air traffic control towers

Towers at Frankfurt and Berlin, two of a series in Germany.

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London's Heathrow Terminal 5 at night. Credit David J Osborn.

Project: Heathrow Terminal 5

Arup provided multidisciplinary services, from project management to people movement studies.

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JetBlue terminal in low light. Credit Prakash Patel/Gensler.

Project: JetBlue Terminal 5

Meeting the demands of modern air travel, relieving check-in, security and baggage claim bottlenecks.

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Campaign: Are you ready to launch?

Operational readiness ensures success from day one

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