When the new Oslo Airport opens for business in April 2017, the construction work will have been going on for six years. Air traffic has continued as normal, and passengers have hardly noticed any hassle. Yet, during this time Avinor has built a new pier, an extended central terminal building and a new, fully integrated station hall for the Airport Express Train. The project is, in fact, Norway’s largest construction project on the Norwegian mainland. Meanwhile, the capacity-challenged airport has remained one of Europe’s most punctual and efficient airports (number one in 2013). 30 million passengers will soon be able to travel through the new Oslo Airport – and take a stroll through the Norwegian woods.
Inside the terminal building, nine-meter-tall pine trees rise towards the ceiling, leaving international passengers in no doubt as to where they are. Scandinavia reveals its soul through the scattered trees, the water mirrors, the beds of moss and the large stones, made for both rest and play.
“We want to bring nature in, on a whole new level. Oslo Airport is the gateway to Scandinavia, and we want passengers to get that feeling right away, while they are still inside the building. Green zones and hideaways around the airport offer travelers a chance to rest, reflect and take a break from commerce,” says Bent Arne Skatvedt, Project Manager for Commercial Interior at Avinor Oslo Airport.
The presence of nature doesn’t exclude superb shopping. After a break amidst green serenity, passengers are ready to dive into 30 multibrand shops. They will never have to walk far to find something interesting – the perfect gift might reveal itself right behind that tall, green wall of plants. 36 new cafés and restaurants, among them Jamie Oliver’s first opening in Norway, offer everything from baked goods and fast food, to sushi and vegan – and everything in between. Surprises are everywhere at the new Oslo Airport.
Travelers mainly have one priority: efficiency. So do airlines and handlers. The architects behind the expansion know all about this. Since Nordic — Office of Architecture won the project back in 2009, they have been involved in more than 20 airport projects in 11 different countries, and has become Scandinavia’s leading airport planners and designers. The success formula is deep insight in logistics, travelers’ behavior and airport functions, combined with a strong architectural design flair.
“It’s not enough to make beautiful design and a stunning terminal roof. It’s what’s under that roof that really counts. An airport is like a factory. Deliveries, travelers, luggage – everything must flow easily in and out”, says Gudmund Stokke, principal partner at Nordic — Office of Architecture.
As a jury member in architectural contests, Stokke has seen many impressive looking airports, but upon a closer look, he says, very little seems to function well behind the facade.
“Sending passengers through those airports will be hell! Travelers appreciate design, shopping, restaurants, services, light and view, but first and foremost, the airport has to be very functional”.
In that case, Oslo Airport is a success.
Compact & easy
One of the huge advantages of Oslo Airport for travellers is that it’s compact. The hub is the central terminal building, where passengers from airport trains arrive right in the center. Three piers stretch out towards north, east and west. The airport layout is easy to figure out, and walking distances are kept to a minimum.
“The expansion won’t lead to longer walking distances. There will still be a maximum span of 500 meters in each direction after the security control. Passengers move either straight ahead, to the right, or to the left. It is the perfect way to plan: a simple layout, short walking distances and exciting architecture makes Oslo Airport a stroke of genius,” says Stokke.
The overall flow and efficiency are perfected, with many new features (see text box). “The airport experience will be enhanced for both travelers and staff”, assures Stokke.
VIP travelers will experience several extra services. The new Oslo Airport offers a VIP terminal, in addition to two business lounges. VIP services includes separate check-in, security control and passport control. Transport, personal care and private suites and conference rooms is available by request. At Oslo Airport, your business will flow just as smoothly as your travelling.
The new pier
The new North Pier will have 11 aircraft stands with personnel boarding bridges. Nine of them are flex gates that allow for aircraft to load and unload passengers from either domestic or international gates, without the need to tow the aircraft between the stands. As a result of growth in route network, the non-Schengen area in Pier East will be expanded as well, making both space and facility improvements to long-haul non-Schengen operators and passengers.
This will enhance the capacity of each docking spot by 25 percent. As a result of the expansion, the non-Schengen area in Pier East will also be expanded, making space and facility improvements for non-Schengen operators and passengers. The North Pier is an environmentally friendly, zero-emissions building, and has a new and different architectural expression from the East and West piers. “The architecture in the pier is quite bold. The way that the new pier connects to the new terminal building definitely creates a “wow factor”. The walls of the pier fold out, like a butterfly, where it is linked to the central building. The twisted pairing of different materials is spectacular and very exciting,” says Stokke. With good flow and high efficiency already taken care of, all that’s left is for the passengers to enjoy the surroundings.
Key features of the new airport
Gateway to Scandinavia: the interior design featuring pine trees, rocks and water mirrors, welcomes passengers right after arrival, leaving no doubt where in the world they are.
- Compact and easy: travelers arrive at the heart of the airport. Maximum distance of 500 meters to gate. A time-saving feature for both passengers and operators.
- Common use: even more shared area and equipment between airlines, like self-service check in kiosks (CUSS), self service baggage drops (SBD) and self-service boarding gates (SBG). Efficient use of space keeps walking distances short and operational costs down.
- New security lines: broader decks to unload luggage and belongings when entering the security check. Passengers can send their trays through the x-ray machine without waiting for the person ahead. Avoids congestion and enhances the passenger experience.
- Flex gates: alexible gates that allow for aircraft to load and unload passengers from either domestic or international gates without the need for towing the aircraft between stands. Makes turnaround process shorter and cheaper.
- Self-service boarding: a majority of self-service boarding gates allows most passengers to board efficiently, while those with special needs can use the operated gate. Makes boarding more efficient for passengers and airlines/handlers.