Kona Int’l Invests in Future with New Federal Inspection Services Facility and Terminal Upgrades

Kona Int’l Invests in Future with New Federal Inspection Services Facility and Terminal Upgrades
Author: 
Victoria Soukup
Published in: 
September
2022

The state of Hawaii has a second permanent international entry point with the $58.7 million Federal Inspection Station completed at Ellison Onizuka Kona International Airport (KOA) last fall. The new facility replaces a temporary facility that federal officials said needed to be replaced if the airport wanted to accommodate a steady stream of scheduled international traffic. Now, international passengers flying into Hawaii can land at either KOA or Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu.

The new Federal Inspection Services (FIS) building is part of a massive renovation at the largely outdoor airport located on the Big Island. Project designers modernized the 50-year-old terminal by merging its two previously separate structures into one unified facility. The new connecting point is a high-tech, six-lane centralized security checkpoint. The airport is also in the final stages of upgrading its baggage system. Screening machines for checked baggage will move from the public side of the terminal to an inline system behind the check-in counters.

Together, the slate of improvements is designed to increase the airport’s operational efficiency, make it more visually appealing and provide additional open space for future concessions.

facts&figures

Project: Federal Inspection Services Building
& Holdroom Building

Location: Ellison Onizuka Kona Int’l Airport—Keahole,
Kailua-Kona

Site: South of Main Terminal

Scope: 48,500 sq. ft.

Cost: $58.7 million

Design: April 2017-April 2018

Construction: Jan. 2020-Oct. 2021; first commercial int’l flights expected in Aug. 2022

Facility Features: Federal Inspection Station (32,700 sq. ft.); covered waiting area for tour groups (6,300 sq. ft.); new gate for int’l/domestic flights; covered, air-conditioned holdroom (7,000 sq. ft.); covered airside walkway (2,500 sq. ft.)

Architect: KYA Inc.

Contractor: Nan Inc.

Construction Manager: Wesley R. Segawa & Assoc.

Seating: Arconas

Biometric Customs Processing: NeoFace Express, by NEC


Project: Terminal Modernization

Location: Ellison Onizuka Kona Int’l Airport—Keahole,
Kailua-Kona

Site: Main Terminal

Scope of Improvements: 78,000 sq. ft.

Key Elements: Security screening building (10,000 sq. ft.) with 6-lane passenger checkpoint; baggage handling system building (37,000 sq. ft.); baggage tunnel (10,000 sq. ft.); concession/restroom buildings (12,000 sq. ft.); bag drop canopies (9,000 sq. ft.)

Cost: $80.4 million

Construction: Feb. 2017 to March 2020; new inline USDA screening system expected to be operational in Jan. 2023

Architect: KYA Inc.

Contractor: Nan Inc.

Construction Manager: Wesley R. Segawa & Assoc.

Baggage System Design: BNP

Baggage System Construction: Five Star Airport Alliance

Baggage System Programmer: Brock Solutions


Project: USDA Inspection Building 

Location: Ellison Onizuka Kona Int’l Airport—Keahole,
Kailua-Kona

Site: Main Terminal

Scope of Improvements: 5,600 sq. ft.

Key Elements: USDA screening facility in line with security screening system

Estimated Cost: $8 million

Construction: April 2021 to Dec. 2022; new inline baggage system expected to be operational in Jan. 2023

Architect: KYA Inc.

Contractor: Nan Inc.

Construction Manager: Wesley R. Segawa & Assoc.

Baggage System Design: BNP

Baggage System Construction: Five Star Airport Alliance

Baggage System Programmer: Brock Solutions

Cy Duvauchelle, KOA’s assistant manager, laughs as he says that the airport had become rather archaic. “Our facilities were really, really, old,” he remarks. “These new projects bring such an improvement and enhance passenger comfort. For example, all the previous holdrooms were open air. Once upon a time, when the airport first opened, it was cool to have an open and breezy airport. But now, we all want the comforts of air conditioning, and that is the type of improvement we’re striving for.”

Easy Decision

It was six years ago when KOA officials decided they needed to build a permanent facility for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to attract and serve international traffic. Previously, the airport had a temporary structure for occasional international traffic, but that facility was shuttered in 2010. In 2016, federal officials gave KOA a choice: construct a new building to house the agency or forego the ability to have international flights. The state felt it was important to have a second airport to accept international traffic in case of weather disruptions or emergencies. Moreover, bringing international traffic to the Big Island adds tourism revenue. The decision was a no-brainer for state officials, and they agreed to have the new FIS built by Dec. 31, 2021.

Construction began in January 2020, and the new station opened in October 2021—two months ahead of schedule and nearly $1 million under budget. Marc Botticelli, construction manager with Wesley R. Segawa and Associates, notes that even though the project took place as the pandemic raged, the team had no problem getting materials because most items were onsite before supply shortages became norm. In fact, construction was easier because air traffic was greatly reduced, he adds.

The new 32,700-square-foot structure houses CBP offices and accommodates passengers arriving from international destinations.

Arriving passengers are greeted by large metal KOA letters on the exterior wall of the new facility. “From the airfield side, the FIS building has a very modern look to it,” says Botticelli. “There’s a lot of glass showing on that side. And the three-letter airport designator code in 10-foot-tall letters brings a lot of attention to the building.”

After deplaning, passengers are led about 50 feet across the tarmac to the FIS building, where they undergo U.S. Customs and Border Protection screening. Once cleared, they collect their checked luggage and proceed through Immigration.

In the past, the process could be lengthy—especially when hundreds of passengers disembarked a single widebody aircraft arriving from Japan, where nearly all of the airport’s international traffic originates.

To improve efficiency, KOA installed the NeoFace Express biometric system from NEC. “It’s so easy now to clear Customs,” says Duvauchelle. “Before, you had to show your passport and then go through documentation. Now, it’s so simple, it’s unbelievable. A passenger just scans his or her passport and gets a green light to go forward, and then walks in front of a camera/monitor and gets the green arrow to proceed. Then, Immigration agents ask the passenger questions. The new biometric process eliminates a good two-thirds of the time required by the old manual process.”

Kyle Wang, a principal at KYA Inc., an architecture firm based in Honolulu, notes that the FIS is designed to process 400 passengers per hour and is expandable to process  a peak of 600 passengers per hour. “The entire facility was designed with future expansion in mind,” he says.

Design materials were specifically chosen to support CBP functions, Wang adds. Glass walls provide interior separation inside the building and allow agents to view passengers from a single vantage point. Line of sight monitoring is possible from the moment travelers step into the building until they leave.

After exiting the facility, passengers can now wait for tour buses in a 6,300-square-foot covered area with seating. Wang notes that it was important for KOA to have a large area for buses because much of its international traffic is from group tours.

Although the new FIS opened in October 2021, it has only served passengers arriving on private aircraft due to pandemic-related travel restrictions. In mid-July, Duvauchelle and other airport officials remained hopeful that commercial flights from Japan would resume in early August as planned.  

Terminal Improvements

All departing passengers—domestic and international—will benefit from recent and ongoing improvements to the main terminal. Previously, KOA had two separate terminals – North and South. An $80 million terminal modernization project recently connected the two terminals with a new six-lane security checkpoint. 

“Before the modernization program, the two individual terminals had separate passenger screening, separate check-in lobbies and separate baggage systems, which was somewhat inefficient in terms of operations,” explains Wang. “The program has now consolidated the checkpoints and the baggage screening systems, while enhancing the passenger experience throughout the airport. And it improves the efficiency of TSA.”

With the two terminals connected, passengers are able to access concessions on both sides after they clear the consolidated security checkpoint. When considering ways to link the previously separate terminals, airport officials insisted on maintaining KOA’s original essence. Designers achieved this by forgoing a roof between the two terminals and using an open-air courtyard instead.

The new baggage system is expected to be fully operational this October. Once complete, screening machines for checked baggage will no longer reside in the lobby. “What we have now is that baggage is screened before you check in,” says Duvauchelle. “The new system will have passengers check in and no matter the destination, all baggage will be handled in the back of the house.”

The new baggage system will automatically sort whether baggage should be screened by agricultural inspectors prior to TSA screening. “We will be the first airport to have a system that can separate the baggage like that,” notes Duvauchelle.

That said, the new process will require more involvement from airline check in staff. “The carrier agents will have some bag inspector duties to make sure that customers do not have any agricultural products in their checked luggage,” explains Duvauchelle. “So their script will have to be changed a little bit.”

Adding AC

The new 7,000-square-foot enclosed holdroom with air conditioning and restrooms is a big enhancement for passengers. “Kona is unique because the airport is essentially open air,” says Wang. “While that’s nice, it does create some problems. The new holdroom can also be used as a haven for passengers if there is inclement weather or if there are overnight delays. Passengers now have a safe, indoor place to wait in a secure environment. And of course, if the FIS in Honolulu went down for any reason, the state of Hawaii would still be able to process international arrivals here
at Kona.”

The new holdroom includes seating for 180 people and is used by both domestic and international passengers. Departing international passengers pass through a gate outfitted with biometric facial recognition technology and then proceed onto the tarmac to Spot 11, the new aircraft stand dedicated to international traffic.

Overall, airport leaders are pleased with the recent and ongoing improvements. “Kona Airport had the hut thing going for a long time, but that’s gotten kind of old,” Duvauchelle reflects. “The terminal was built in 1970 for two carriers: Hawaiian Airlines and Aloha Airlines. In that same footprint, we now have seven carriers and up to 60 flights. And we have the ‘big birds’ coming in as well. As we continue all these improvements, we will be upgrading more of our infrastructure to bring Kona up to the 21st century.”

Subcategory: 
Terminals

Integration of GIS with CMMS & EAM Systems

A growing number of Airports, Warehouses, private and public utilities today are implementing Computerized Maintenance Management Systems (CMMS) and Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems. In 2019, the CMMS software market was worth $0.92 billion. By 2027, it is expected to reach $1.77 billion, increasing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.58% during 2020-2027.

This developing interest in asset and maintenance management is driven by the multiple benefits that an EAM system and a CMMS offer in terms of prolonging the useful life of maturing infrastructure, and assets. On the other hand, a geographic information system (GIS) offers exceptional capabilities and flexible licensing for applying location-based analytics to infrastructures such as airports, roadways, and government facilities.
 
Both GIS and CMMS systems complement one another. For companies looking to increase the return on investment (ROI) on their maintenance efforts, integrating a GIS with a CMMS platform is an expected headway that can considerably improve the capabilities of their maintenance crew and give them the best results.
 
This whitepaper takes a closer look at the definitions and benefits of GIS, EAM, and CMMS. Moreover, it sheds light on some important considerations associated with the integration of GIS with an EAM system and CMMS. It also presents a powerful solution to streamline the integration process.
 

 

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