New international arrivals facility at Aberdeen Airport

Carol Benzie with Karen Bain (traditional piper and Terminal Safety Officer at AIA) and John Deffenbaugh.
Carol Benzie with Karen Bain (traditional piper and Terminal Safety Officer at AIA) and John Deffenbaugh.

Aberdeen International Airport has launched the first phase of its terminal transformation project with the opening of its new international arrivals facilities.

The full terminal transformation project is due to be completed by 2019 with this, the first phase of the project, launching a month ahead of schedule.

The new service offers arriving passengers 50 per cent more space in international arrivals, with the new baggage reclaim belt being twice as long as the old one.

At the opening of the new facility recently, arriving passengers were welcomed by Carol Benzie, the Airport’s managing director, and head of capital, John Deffenbaugh.

Carol said they were really pleased to see the proposals coming to fruition.

She said: “The launch of our new international arrivals facility marks the first stage of several years of planning, and it is so exciting for us to see those plans start to come into reality.

“We were dedicated to delivering these new international facilities ahead of the peak summer season. Our domestic arrivals facility is on schedule to open in July which, alongside our new Northern Lights executive lounge, will see phase one of our transformation project completed and available to passengers within the summer season.”

Passengers experiencing the facilities for the first time were piped through customs by a traditional Scottish piper before being met with a surprise performance by ‘Scotland’s most famous bagpipe band’: The Red Hot Chilli Pipers.

The pipe band performed for passengers, airport staff, and members of the public in the main terminal building to celebrate the launch in true Scottish style.

The next stage of the transformation project to go live will see new Northern Lights executive lounge open on July 1.

Passengers travelling from Aberdeen will then be able to enjoy panoramic views of the runway, local food and drink, and a feature-whisky wall in the new lounge on the first floor of the extension building.

This is closely followed by the new domestic reclaim area and the new customs facilities.

This then allows for phase two of the transformation project to get underway, with an enlarged and improved security area and new retail offers set to open before summer 2018.

The final phase involves realigning the airside: landside boundary as well as transforming and enhancing the catering and retail facilities.

John Deffenbaugh said: “The facility has been designed around our passengers and we really do hope they like it.

“Generous proportions, pale colours and rooftop skylight glazing create a sense of spaciousness and airiness while bold signage and feature lighting are designed to ensure that the passenger journey is clear.”

He added: “Compared to the previous facilities, the new area delivers a step change in the quality of experience we can offer passengers and this will be continued in the future phases of security search and departure lounge reconfiguration.”

The launch of new international arrivals facilities at Aberdeen International marks the beginning of the most expansive project in the airport’s history and demonstrates the confidence that the airport owners have in the future of the region.

Aberdeen International Airport is the north-east of Scotland’s major transport hub and is a vital economic driver for the region, contributing more than £110 million a year to the local economy. Approximately 300 people are directly employed by the airport and it is currently home to 20 airlines serving 50 destinations worldwide.