Henderson Engineers Shapes Innovative Travel Experience at New KC International Airport
Henderson Engineers, a national building systems design firm, is leading the charge on cementing the new single terminal Kansas City International Airport (MCI) as a world-class facility. As the lead engineer on the $1.5 billion project, the firm is working closely withproject partner Siemens to equip MCI with innovative technology for a cutting-edge experience for both travelers and the facility’s operations team.
“We’re excited to be delivering a cutting-edge terminal within our hometown region,” said James Dietz, aviation practice director at Henderson Engineers. “A key advantage we bring to the table at MCI is more than 50 years of expertise in design and construction. We help merge wonderful ideas from various project partners and make sure they’re constructable and that they work together both aesthetically and functionally.”
Henderson designed the technological infrastructure that enables key features including touchless kiosks, intuitive display systems and video walls, and visual paging boards for passengers who are deaf or hard of hearing – all intended to make it easier and accessible to navigate through the building. This infrastructure will also support a biometric verification system that will enable travelers to use their faces as boarding passes during check in and boarding for international flights. Henderson is helping with planning and coordinating the installation of biometric equipment to ensure it works smoothly with other technological systems throughout the airport.
Safety is also a key touchpoint. To minimize blind spots at the expansive 1,000,000 square foot terminal, Henderson used 3D BIM software to determine the best placement for security cameras. Using a virtual replica of the facility, engineers were able to evaluate what cameras would capture at various terminal locations and make expert recommendations accordingly. Furthermore, Henderson is collaborating with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) and United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) throughout the selection and installation process for security systems to ensure the terminal is equipped with state-of-the-art safety technology.
“Convenience, well-being, and safety are front and center of the work we’re undertaking, and we believe it will resonate well with the passengers and airport staff once the terminal opens in early 2023,” explained Dietz.
Upon the project’s completion, MCI will be confronted with smoothly transitioning away from its current outdated three-terminal layout to the new single terminal. Since airport operations will need to remain functional during the transition, Henderson collaborated with project partner SITA to design a virtualized IT network that will prevent interruptions to security and other vital systems during the changeover. Overall, Henderson worked closely with the operations group at MCI to ensure the project would be state of the art at opening and have capacity for future growth, technological advancements, and everchanging travel regulations.
“Virtually every design that is going into this project has an eye toward the future,” said Dietz. “We’re making sure it’s innovative now but can easily be updated as technology evolves and in case the requirements surrounding airline travel are updated. This flexibility will help keep MCI at the forefront of travel for decades to come.”
In addition to technology, Henderson’s array of building systems design services for the new single terminal MCI includes acoustics, audio-video, electrical, fire alarm, mechanical, and plumbing. Skidmore Owings & Merrill (SOM) is the lead architect and Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate is the developer.