The Passenger Air Terminal

The Passenger Air Terminal

The silhouette of a giant bird just about to come off the ground and to soar up into the sky is visible from afar. It attracts the eyes with the sight of smooth outlines, aerodynamic forms, as if hovering in the air, despite all massiveness of a huge construction. So looks the main air harbour of Turkmenistan.

Here everything is arranged so that to make an unforgettable impression on the travelers inspired with the fabulous sight of the enormous sizes bird with outstretched wings which welcomes those who approach the airport. It is difficult to take the eyes off it, and the closer travelers come the more its majestic and radiant view fas­cinates them.

There is much to ad­mire inside of the wonderful construction site: high wavy delicate arches, remining the bird’s plumage, with columns resembling the magic trees with spreading crowns, pour­ing a bright light, palm trees, flowers, decorative panels, and other interesting design solutions create a sense of being in a beautiful fairy gar­den.

Everything is designed in light and soft colours. Special at­tention has been paid to convenience and comfort of the passengers, their pleas­ant pastime. Visual effects help travelers to relieve ten­sion, and put them in a positive mood.

Turkmenistan takes pride in many beautiful sites and at­tractions, and the main airport of the country aspires to take the place among them

What is the purpose of creating such a huge airport, if the old one met the demand for available freight and pas­senger traffic?

Since ancient times Turkmenistan was called the “Crossing of Great Silk Road”, as far as the Great Silk Road ran across its territory, connecting commercial and cultural routes between East and West, North and South. Nowadays as well, our country, which is located at the intersection of modern transcontinental routes connecting Europe and Asia, seeks to fulfill its potential in the transport sector in order to establish mutually beneficial trade and economic ties that will contribute to the interests of well-being and sustainable development of the region and the whole world.

Turkmenistan is not simply reviving the Great Silk Road in its new im­age, but it becomes a major transport nodal point in the region, growing into a large International logistics center. These goals are con­sistently achieved owing to the favourable geographical location and the transport policy pursued by President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, based on topical initiatives, and practi­cal steps taken for their realization. The modern transport infrastructure that meets international stan­dards is created, highways, transnational railway lines, stations and a new sea port in Turkmenbashi are being built, modern ships are procured, rail and road bridges connecting different regions within the country, as well as the neighboring states, are constructed to achieve the purpose. Thanks to this, Turkmenistan becomes a junction point of the main transport routes of the Eur­asian continent, including air, sea, road and railway traffic.

One of the key roles in the development of transporta­tion services plays Civil Avia­tion authorized by the Head of State Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. The newest modern aircraft are acquired, high­ly qualified pilots and maintenance personnel are trained, existing airports are recon­structed and new airports are being built. One of them is the International Airport of Turkmenistan cap­ital.

Original and unusual artistic solution creates the first impression when look­ing at the new airport com­plex in the capital.As if a snow-white bird in flight stretched out its “wings” over the main passen­ger terminal. The architects who developed this project did not look for ready-made solutions, and did not copy other designs. Instead, they learned from the authors of interesting concepts.

Thus, an own unique idea had emerged, based on exclusively national concept. The falcon - a symbol of the Turkmenistan aviation became the embodiment of an idea. Its shape decorates each aircraft of the national airlines.

Confidence, reliability and loyalty!

For the Turk­men people the falcon in addition to vigi­lance and swiftness of flight, beauty and harmony with the natural elements, also embodies, above all, such qualities as confidence, re­liability and loyalty. These three words can serve as the motto of the Civil Avia­tion of Turkmenistan: con­fidence of passengers in the reliability of machines and loyalty of pilots to their professional duties.

In other words, the fal­con’s image embodies the idea of unity of man and nature. But, despite the symbolism characteristic of the East, the main thing in the construction of this air­port is not its appearance, but the functionality and safety. Sure enough, a new role of the International Airport of Ashgabat is in its practi­cal capabilities, rather than in the purely original de­sign. First of all, this is its modern professional-inno­vative functioning system. This is not an exaggeration, but a statement of the objec­tive factors: Ashgabat Airport is going to compete with the recognized world leaders in the quality of its services.

Particular attention is paid to the introduction of new technologies into de­velopment of the aeronauti­cal infrastructure, and im­provement of quality of the passenger service sector, including highly efficient and customized solutions, from the ground support equipment to intelligent air terminal complexes and innovative international services, organization of Internet ticket sales for the flights of the Service “Turkmenhowayollary”, granting of incen­tives to passengers, regularly traveling on T5 flights.

The work of Border, Customs and Immigration services in Ashgabat In­ternational Airport is ar­ranged at the modern level. A comprehensive approach is taken to all safety cri­teria and regulations in the organization and manage­ment system, ground move­ment of aircraft, passenger services, baggage and car­go handling in compliance with the highest interna­tional standards, as well as the organization of the en­tire system of services, on the quantity and quality of which competitiveness of the airport depends. The handling capaci­ty of Ashgabat Interna­tional Airport is 1,600 pas­sengers per hour. It will be able to accept aircraft of any type and freight-carrying capacity, providing services up to international standards.

The airport construc­tion project provided for building of three termi­nals, including two passenger (main terminal with 30 gates and terminal two) and cargo terminal, the new 3,800 meters long runway, taxiways, parking stands and apron for aircraft, Air Traffic Control Tower, a number of other associated facilities. In addition, the existing 3,800 meters long runway was reconstructed.

The new air harbor is fitted out with the most advanced equipment. The total area, which is occu­pied by the airport complex and integrates 189 facilities, is 1,200 hectares. The airport design standard: ICAO 4F. All technical sys­tems and operational pro­cedures meet the highest international standards.

Comfortable Departure lounges and Check-In areas , Baby and Mother Resting Rooms, Disabled Rest­ing Rooms, as well as Departures and Arrivals information boards, infor­mation desks, ticket offices, cloak-rooms, automated cash machines, first aid rooms, restaurants, duty-free shops, and other facilities are avail­able for passengers comfort at the new airport.

In addition, there are hotels for flying personnel and transit passengers.

Within the territory of the airport there are fire-fighting and emergency rescue ser­vice posts with observation-control towers, fire-engine stations, work­shops with specialized shops for ground support equipment, fuelling sta­tions.

Check-In, Departures and Arrivals Areas

The total construc­tion area of 5-sto­rey building of the Interna­tional passenger terminal is about 166,000 square meters. Its height is 46.60 meters and dimensions comprise 680x354 meters. This vast space has been arranged so that each pas­senger from the total flow (14 million a year) could feel the attention and friendliness of the personnel.

New systems and equipment are implemented at the Check-in and Departure stages at Ashgabat Interna­tional Airport, which aim to increase the passen­ger handling process. The quantitative indicators are important for any airport in terms of its popularity and reporting, as well as for material reasons: more passengers mean more prof­it. However, at Ashgabat International Airport the main emphasis is not on the speed, but on the service culture, an important com­ponent of which is now the wide application of infor­mation technology. This is not a tribute to the “digital age”, but the actual need.

Preflight feeling is a special state. This is an expectation and tension, maybe sadness of parting, or joy of the upcom­ing meeting. Therefore, the person­nel providing services to passengers at the airport do their best to make the preflight hours as pleasant and comfortable as possi­ble through the polite and friendly conversation, and excellent services.

The mod­ern electronic devices help to simplify many procedures. The primary and key task of the airport and the civil aviation personnel on the whole is passenger safe­ty. Airport is the place of huge accumulation of peo­ple, where it is absolutely necessary to carefully check passengers, baggage, han­d baggage and documents in order to ensure reliability and safety. At the same time, the current reality demands to strengthen the security re­quirements. Every passenger is obliged to undergo the pre­flight control proce­dure, as well as to present the baggage and things people carry with them for inspec­tion. Refusal to undergo ex­amination and present their belongings entails termination of the air transportation contract. The purpose of pre­flight examination is to ensure aviation security, protect life and health of passengers, prevent possi­ble attempts to seize (hijack) an aircraft and other acts of unlawful interference with civil aviation by criminal el­ements, as well as the smug­gling of weapons, ammuni­tion, explosives, poisonous, flammable and other haz­ardous substances and items prohibited for carriage by air transport.

The check-in of passen­gers and baggage at the air­port usually begins 2 hours prior to the domestic flights and 3 hours prior to the interna­tional flights, and is closed 40 minutes before the departure. For check-in and regis­tration of personal baggage you must show your elec­tronic ticket and passport (or any other identification doc­ument) to the check-in agent. At the same place, the visa will be checked, when appropri­ate. The baggage is registered in the presence of its owner. The airport agent will immediately weigh your bag­gage and tell you whether an extra charge for overweight must be paid. You can also ask an agent at the counter what baggage can be registered, and what can be taken as a hand baggage, according to the established sizes. Upon the registration comple­tion the passenger is given a boarding pass and a baggage receipt, certifying that the baggage was taken on board, and for its further identifica­tion at the point of destination. It should be noted that the car­rier is fully responsible for the safety of passenger’s bag­gage.

Baggage of passengers before loading on board is specially checked by scanning, during which the contents of baggage appears in colour on the computer screen. If the Aviation Security officers have any doubts about the contents of the personal bag­gage, the passenger is obliged to open the suitcase or bag and show, (and sometimes explain), what was requested.

Then the passenger goes through a scanner-fluoroscope security check. The passengers have a possibility to complete the registration, or at least a part of the necessary pro­cedures, on their own. This is so-called “e-Airport” sys­tem with an incorporated self-check-in component, the intro­duction of which helps to re­duce the queue to regular check-in counters. For the convenience of passengers 11 self-check-in counters are installed. They are located in front of the Check-In area before the Cus­toms control and they can be used by passengers travelling without baggage. If necessary, an officer on-duty at the counters can assist in checking-in the ticket. It is possible to use self-check-in stands (ex­cept for passengers with chil­dren under 2 years old) at least 45 minutes before departure. To go through the self-check-in procedure it is necessary to be identified (in the stand for this purpose electronic cards or readable passports are used at that; the name, surname on the card must correspond to the data in the booked tick­et). Then the personal data should be checked (flight number, ser­vice class, name), a place on the aircraft cabin layout is chosen, and boarding pass is received.

Further, the passenger goes through a scanner-fluoroscope security personal check. On the way to an air­plane the passenger approaches the Customs control line with “Green” and “Red” corridors. “Green” corridor is a form of control, which can be used by individuals crossing the Customs border, provided that they have no goods sub­ject to written declaration, and, if such person does not have unaccompanied baggage. If the person has ac­companied baggage, subject to declaration, and, if there are goods that are declared at the individual’s option, the “Red” corridor has to be used when crossing the border. In this case, a person fills in a passenger declaration form, passes through the “Red” corridor, and hands in his declaration form to the Customs officer. The list of goods subject to mandato­ry declaration can be found on the site. The same rules apply in the arrivals lounge.

Next, and one of the most important stages, is Passport control. There are also two methods for this procedure - with participa­tion of people and automatic. Everything is done in order to minimize the time needed to go through control and transfer a part of the process to information technology. The number of conventional passport control counters is reduced by the new E-gates. Automated passport control stands verify passports and visa with the help of read­ing devices. The data is en­tered into the computer, and a stamp is put that you have left Turkmenistan. When using a system of electronic gates an average time of 10-15 seconds is spent for each passenger. At the same time, special attention is also paid to security issues at this stage.

Further, the passenger enters the spacious departure lounges with a wide view of the airport airfield, where it is possible to watch taking off and landing airplanes.

The departures lounge meets all conditions of the passengers’ comfortable stay, including duty-free shops, retail areas, where food, drinks and other goods are on offer.

Special conveyors- travolators (a moving pavement for trans­porting pedestrians) make it possible to accelerate or simplify movement of pas­sengers. Their smooth and flat surface is comfortable to transport passengers with perambulators and wheel­chair users. In the capital’s new air­port, like in many world modern international-class airports, jet bridges are used for boarding and disembarkation of the passengers directly from the terminal building to the aircraft without entering the apron, and spare the intermediate means of trans­portation. The jet bridge pro­vides passengers with more comfortable boarding con­ditions, mainly due to the elimination of the weath­er effect. It re­quires fewer aircraft and personnel to serve the flight, and saves pre-flight time for passengers’ service. Boarding is provided through jet bridges which open and join the aircraft’s access port, in­creases the working efficiency of the terminal. From the jetty hall the pas­senger can also proceed to the bus­es to access distant gates for international or domestic flights, located at the apron level. Passengers departing through the bus gates, proceed to the bus waiting rooms by es­calators, stairs and elevators from the departure lounge. In the bus waiting rooms there are food and beverages kiosks, retail outlets, chapels, etc. The building of the passenger terminal has a to­tal of 8 exits to buses: 4 for In­ternational and 4 for Domestic flights. Arriving passengers are passing through glazed fixed bridges to come first to the arrivals terminal building with a direct access to the baggage claim conveyors area and driveway. Well-considered ar­rangement of space provides a good overview and easy orientation. Halfway in the arrival corridor the passengers from remote aircraft parking stands move to the lounge by escalators, stairs or eleva­tors from the apron level, and proceed to the passport control area before coming down to the baggage claim area. Located in a vast hall in front of the passport control desks are visa and transfers counters. Baggage from the arriving flights is transported on conveyor belts. Above there are information boards notifying on a conveyor belt, on which baggage will be transported from the arrived flight. Oversized baggage is dispensed separately. Next to the first conveyor belt there is a coffee shop, where some coffee could be taken, while waiting for the baggage.

The total construction area of the second small ter­minal is 14,127 square metres with a capacity of 3,125,000 passengers a year. It includes the terminal for domestic flights, CIP-terminal and the terminal for International flights, the transit passen­gers lounge. Its parking lot is designed for 16-20 aircraft depending on their sizes.