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Innovations and Design: Duluth International Airport

Before any development, it is important to appreciate different components that contributes to airport design and layout concepts. The aim of airport design and layout is to evaluating existing facilities. Development of terminal layouts, and integrating different components to ensure the airport operates effectively (Magalhães, Reis & Macário, 2016). Some of the appropriate resources in an airport include bag check, security controls and check. Duluth International Airport has a 20 year-updated master plan that informs on the positioning of different concepts and components to accomplish the airport requirements. The airport supports different aircraft but has the capacity of 86 aircraft, provides services to 55,273 flights and the number of passengers in 2015 were 266,500 (Duluth International Airport, 2016). The design of the airport also incorporates different layout components that includes change of movement such as bus or car to train, passenger facilities such as conference and eating areas, provision of holding space, processing and circulation (Kazda & Caves, 2015). Other physical parts within the airport includes the different lounges, airline offices, passengers meet and greet area, baggage make-up area, shop retails, and plans maintenance areas. In the layout, other factors include the noise control and abatement, terminal services and facilities, among other things.

A master plan is a comprehensive plan of action. An airport master plan defines and highlights the different components that inform how airports are developed and operate to accomplish different objectives (Magalhães, Reis & Macário, 2016; Carmona & Punter, 2013). Duluth International Airport Master Plan is an official record drawing that indicates the airport developments for the purpose of complying with planning standards and federal grant assistances (Duluth International Airport, 2016). The Duluth Master Plan has to conform to the Minnesota Department of Transport and the Federal Aviation Administration (Duluth International Airport, 2016). The Master Plan creates a blueprint that indicates the development based on consistent obligations and other strategic requirements (Kazda & Caves, 2015). It includes identification of appropriateness of the resources relative to other facilities within the site.

The role of a Duluth International Airport Master Plan is comprehensive in nature because it highlights different information about the airport through architectural drawings with clearly identified scale and measurements (Magalhães, Reis & Macário, 2016). Some of the information in a Master Plan include reconfiguration or reallocation of the taxiway, airport traffic control tower, defines extension and future conditions, landscaping requirements, pavements, passenger check-in and luggage areas. The runway departure, the stores/warehouse, and security areas (Kazda & Caves, 2015). Therefore, the Duluth International Airport Master Plan aims to ensure the different areas and sectors within the airport are defined and clarified (Duluth International Airport, 2016). In incorporating these different components, some of the achievements include service quality evaluation, functionality and capacity analysis, terminal facility planning, and allowing for future improvements of the airport.

The Master Plan development involves numerous processes (Kazda & Caves, 2015; Chandran & Rao, 2013). The FAA advises on any proposal and improvement, or the process can start with the Airport Management after reviewing the current processes, forecast future demands, and analyse measures of improvement of entire airport strategic objectives (Duluth International Airport, 2016). FAA and Minnesota Department of Transport analyses the Airport Master Plan provides guidelines and advice, and other strategic objectives to actualize the aim of the airport. Other stakeholders are involved in the development of Duluth International Airport Master Plan through filling different questionnaires and also presenting their views during consultative meetings (Magalhães, Reis & Macário, 2016). Creating a Master Plan is not a straight forward method because alternatives have to be considered, including the environmental and other variables influencing the development process.

The utilisation of an Airport Master Plan creates numerous limitations and problems. The construction and building of an airport including the environmental requirements is an expensive venture. After the design of the master plan, it means that readjust and reconfiguration of the master plan is near impossible (Magalhães, Reis & Macário, 2016; Carmona & Punter, 2013). It will cost more especially when it comes to contractual obligations, and impact to the design needs. In addition, the design of the master plan needs forecasting and convenience requirements, meaning the data used in the design and drawing of the master plan may be based on the wrong premise (Kazda & Caves, 2015). The beginning to the end of the master plan lies on estimations and forecasting, which sometimes are wrong. The design of master plan relies on the previous step in that it is an interlinked process. For example, the landscaping and the runway tracks have to be interlinked with the drainage system (Magalhães, Reis & Macário, 2016). A wrong design of the drainage system results in flooding in the runway tracks. Therefore, the interlinkage nature of the master plan creates a potential of risks and problems in mitigation or prevention of the risks (Carmona & Punter, 2013).

In conclusion, a master plan is an important document that provides an image of the design of a project. An airport master plan provides information on location and layouts of different sectors in accomplishing the airline industry requirements. Duluth International Airport Master Plan provides information regarding the layout of different components that makes up the airport and provision of services to the different stakeholders. It indicates the pavements, drainage system, pavement, landscaping, passenger areas and facilities, security and luggage requirements, and other fundamentals associated with the airport services. The aim of a master plan is to create a linkage between the different components that contributes to the airport operations. However, limitations exist in the formulation and implementation of the master plan contents and layout. For example, the premise of a master plan is estimates and forecasting, and such estimates affect the credibility of the entire master plan.


Carmona, M., & Punter, J. (2013). The design dimension of planning: theory, content and best practice for design policies. London: Routledge.

Chandran, A., & Rao, I. P. (2013). New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport Runway Design and Construction. In Airfield Safety and Capacity Improvements: Case Studies on Successful Projects (pp. 1-23).

Duluth Airport Authority. (2016). Chapter 6: Identification and evaluation of alternatives. Retrieved from http://duluthairport.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/8_DLH___CH_6___Alternatives_FINAL__v4_1__TJM4.pdf

Kazda, A., & Caves, R. E. (2015). Airport design and operation. Emerald Group Publishing.

Magalhães, L., Reis, V., & Macário, R. (2016). A literature review of flexible development of airport terminals. Transport Reviews, 1-18.