New York’s LaGuardia Airport has long been known for its outdated infrastructure and low customer satisfaction rates. In 2017, Arup partnered with Delta, LGA’s largest carrier, to consolidate Delta Terminal’s C and D into a dazzling state-of-the-art facility, featuring 37 gates across four concourses. Arup’s comprehensive technological integration across every function of the terminal has set a new benchmark for airports globally and will help define the future of air travel. 

Arup is leading the creation of a long-awaited, integrated technology infrastructure that provides a customer-friendly journey for a safer and more sustainable future for travel. The seminal shift will be digital, delivering a superior customer experience and improving operations whilst cutting energy costs and reducing carbon emissions throughout the terminal in a dual approach that maximises overall success. A centralisation of technology will deliver pioneering levels of information access and smart operations for Delta, simplifying the check-in, security check and baggage claim touchpoints.

The integrated technology approach will be fundamental in providing an information-rich journey, for a more intuitive and bespoke experience with digital wayfinding signage from the roadway to the gates with customisable information. QR code-accessible screens throughout the terminal will support passengers with updates and insights for a dynamic and hands-free signage option, drastically improving the customer journey and operations management. Data analytics and insights were implemented using an overarching technology platform, gathering data across the terminal’s subsystems through customisable Arup dashboards. From the outset, we envisioned an agile, integrated technological platform with an assignment to develop an IT master plan for a complete electrical engineering overhaul.

Data analytics and insights

With millions of passengers walking through the doors every year, visitor and staff operations need to be efficient whilst reducing energy consumption.

Arup’s overarching technology platform will function as an information broker integrated through the vast terminal. The system will gather data that will be displayed through dashboards with relevant sets of information and interfaces for different users. Facilities Operator’s Dashboards will feature detailed information about interior lighting and heating, whilst Ramp Operator’s monitors will provide ramp activity insights with various functions, such as fault-diagnostic emails that signal a potential problem. 

Dashboards can visualise operations in terms of energy consumption, where Delta can see where reducing runtime can increase efficiencies. Since the largest airport power consumers are baggage and airplane ramp services, being able to control HVAC on and off times alone can decrease ramp service usage by up to 87% for significant energy savings. Data sets will be accessible and actionable through interfaces designed with graphics and information to provide context to the end-user’s specific needs.

Electrical engineering

Given the complex nature of executing electrical engineering for such a large-scale project, Delta subsequently approached Arup to lead the platform implementation. The role involved developing the complex and time-consuming systems that increased the current constant delays and inefficiencies throughout the terminal. The solutions included oversight controls designed to monitor and improve conditions, with automated Dashboard systems responding to occupancy and usage. The technology is set up to sense safe distances between passengers, such as waiting lines during designated ticketing, TSA, and taxi areas. 

Discovering how technology can impact operations has enabled the implementation of a comprehensive, integrated technology system and control rooms. These are the vanguard of delivering smart, actionable information for all airport terminals, with the ever-increasing expectations of customer service and operational efficiencies.