New Hardstands Pave the Way for Other Renovations

Kathy Hamilton
Published in: 


The Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) wants the "island experience" to begin for visitors as soon as their aircraft touch down. And it's investing billions of dollars to make sure it happens. In spring 2006, Hawaii DOT kicked off a $2.3 billion, 12-year Airport's Modernization Program designed to equip airports throughout the Aloha state with infrastructure and amenities befitting of the popular tourist destination.


"The Modernization Program is intended to upgrade Hawaii's airports to meet visitor expectations, while preserving a unique character that is respectful and reflective of the Hawaiian culture and history," explains Brian Sekiguchi, DOT deputy director for airports.


Facts & Figures

Project: Hardstand Construction, Interisland Maintenance Facility Prep

Location: Honolulu International Airport

Owner: Hawaii Department of Transportation

Cost: $39 million

Master Architect: HOK

Design-build Contractor: Kiewit Pacific

Program Manager: Parsons

Modeling Software: AeroTURN, by Transoft Solutions

Benefits: Increased aircraft parking capacity, support for future airport improvements

Honolulu International (HNL), the state's busiest airport, will receive the lion's share of the funds: $1.73 billion. The airport and DOT recently celebrated completion of HNL's new hardstands, an early phase of the Modernization Program and a precursor for several airside improvements. The $39 million design-build project includes four new parking aprons capable of accommodating up to four wide-body or eight narrow-body aircraft; a utility building; high-mast lighting; airfield drainage; a 400-hertz generation/distribution system and hydrant fueling system. The project also includes site grading for a new Interisland Maintenance Facility, and represents the first step in improvements on the currently undeveloped west side of the airport.


Remaining portions of HNL's $1.73 billion will be used to build a new concourse, modernize existing concourses and widen Taxiways G and L.

First Things First

Phasing of the Modernization Program is designed so the earliest projects address the immediate needs that passengers, operations and aircraft will have during future phases of construction.

"The Interisland Maintenance Facility is one element of the consolidation that will be necessary to accommodate the new construction at HNL," explains Sekiguchi. During construction, displaced aircraft will be parked on the new hardstands.

A lot of aircraft park overnight at HNL, adds Jim Bruce, project manager for master architect HOK. "Early construction displaced the existing hardstands, so there was immediate need to build new ones," Bruce explains.

With Parsons providing program management, HOK prepared the bid packages and took the design to about 30% completion. Local contractors then completed the design and constructed the facility, with Parsons and HOK providing ongoing oversight.


Brian Sekiguchi

Location, Location


The airport's new hardstands are located on undeveloped land adjacent to the aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) station. "The location is desirable, because there are no long-term plans for changes to this area. These hardstands will never have to be moved," notes Bruce. It's also, however, adjacent to Hikam Air Force Base to the west. "The design had to allow access to the ARFF station, in addition to accommodating federal property setbacks," he adds.

Another potential challenge to the location was its proximity to main departure taxiways. Designers used AeroTURN software, by Transoft Solutions, to study the turning radii of ground support equipment. Computerized simulations helped ensure that parked aircraft would not interfere with taxiing aircraft. "The software made it possible to plan access to the maintenance facility, plan aircraft parking and validate Federal Aviation Regulation-mandated clearances," explains Bruce.


Phasing the construction work to maintain regular airfield operations fell to Airport Operations and the design-build contractor, Kiewit Pacific. Constructing the new hardstands adjacent to an operating taxiway required close coordination to ensure the safety of flight operations and construction personnel. Construction activities were consequently restricted to certain times and dates to accommodate aircraft movements. And in some instances, flight operations were altered to allow construction work to occur. When installation of a fuel line required trenching across two active taxiways, work proceeded around the clock so that one taxiway could remain open at all times.


Although HNL's master plan provides enough parking space for two A380 aircraft, the new hardstands and Interisland Maintenance Facility weren't designed for the supersized airbuses. "They can be accommodated if necessary," explains Bruce, "but there's no current need."


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