Print Bookmark

Atkins recognises that successful and compelling aviation design balances efficiency, security and safety with comfort, sustainability and revenue generation.


For over 50 years, we’ve been helping move the world forward one step at a time by creating world class airports where air travel is safer, easier and faster for commuters.

It’s the expertise of our people - architects, designers, engineers, environmentalists and project managers - that enable us to deliver innovative solutions for our clients at every stage of a project.

From Heathrow to Jeddah, Gatwick to London City our insight and experience within the aviation sector enables us to deliver intelligent, cost effective and sustainable solutions where everyone’s travel needs are considered for both today and tomorrow.



From economic studies, operations analysis and masterplanning to architecture and integrated airport facilities, Atkins embraces every area of design, development, construction and operation.

We provide integrated services for the planning, design and delivery of all aspects of airport development, including:

Feasibility and planning

  • Feasibility studies and master planning
  • Surface access modelling
  • Traffic management and operational assessment
  • Aviation regulatory advice
  • Safeguarding assessment
  • Movement area planning and capacity analysis
  • Environmental impact studies
  • Aviation safety assessments.

Project delivery

  • Project management
  • Risk management
  • Contract administration and site supervision
  • Airfield pavement & PCI surveys
  • CDM services
  • Facilities management.


  • Airside infrastructure – pavements, AGL, NAVAIDS and ATC
  • Airport facilities – passenger terminals, cargo terminals, hangars
  • Airport systems – baggage handling systems, fire fighting systems, ICT systems including FIDS and CUTE
  • Fuel storage and distribution
  • Security systems – CULS, ICISS, PASS and more
  • Landside infrastructure – motorways, access roads, car parks.


View all

Nick Roberts
12 Aug 2016

It’s estimated that an average adult will make somewhere in the region of 35,000 conscious decisions every day. Granted, many of these will be fairly trivial, but a significant number of them will require us to make a choice of whether to compete or collaborate. Generally speaking competing means pursuing self-interest before all else. The gains can be more significant, but the losses too. Competition runs to the core of what businesses and business leaders, and even individuals, are expected to do. On the other hand, collaborating means that you have to share your competitive advantage and work harder to make sure the relationships with your partners run smoothly. Risk and reward for the individual companies is normally smaller but in the long term you will probably achieve a greater good. As we face increasingly complex challenges and an evolving business landscape the lines between competing and collaborating have to move closer together so we can have the best of both worlds. The people of the UK have recently been asked one of the most important questions in recent history. Do we want to forge our own way or do we want to be part of something bigger. We chose to go it alone. In other words we want to compete and to do better. It’s therefore slightly ironic that in order to do this successfully we will need to collaborate more than ever. Focusing firstly on Brexit, it is a mind-blowingly complex task to unpick countless EU rules, regulations, standards,

UK & Europe ,

Nick Roberts
18 Mar 2016

Competition is healthy. It keeps us sharp, agile and at the top of our game. But not everything in life is competitive and it is possible to have winners without having to have a loser. London versus the Northern Powerhouse increasingly seems to be debated, and more specifically over the last week this has extended to Crossrail 2 versus High Speed 3 with concerns raised that London gets a new railway whereas the North ‘only’ gets an upgrade to existing infrastructure. For me, it’s never been a choice between London or the Northern Powerhouse. It has to be both. It has to be about the growth of the UK. I’m not pretending that choices are easy but it’s an example of why the government created the National Infrastructure Commission, so they could take a long term, balanced and objective view of the country’s infrastructure needs in order to help make some of these decisions. I was pleased to see that in its first outputs the Commission proposed major schemes in both the North and London, and the Chancellor subsequently announced in the Budget that money will be made available to take forward key recommendations in both. Would I have liked the Budget to include more pump priming for the Northern Powerhouse, on a scale which would give it a real kick start rather than simply bringing forward investments that were planned already? Yes, but I wouldn’t go as far as saying that the North has got a raw deal. Let’s not

UK & Europe ,

Nick Roberts
16 Mar 2016

The National Infrastructure Commission was set up to take a long term and objective view of our infrastructure needs. The Chancellor’s agreement to take forward key recommendations such as HS3, the Trans-Pennine tunnel, the expansion of capacity on the M62 and Crossrail 2 shows that the system works. The creation of new and improved infrastructure is the means to the end, not the end itself, so the focus needs to be on delivering these schemes quickly in order to start generating the economic benefits we need now. Particularly in the case of the Northern Powerhouse, government spending on new and improved infrastructure will be vital in attracting much needed funding from other sources and delivering the productivity improvements that the government has set out. The influence of technology and data is enabling us to be smarter and more efficient in the way we use and deliver infrastructure. I welcome the funding and commitment to our digital economy and to make trials of driverless cars a reality on our roads by 2017, but would have liked to have seen more. I believe we have a real opportunity for the UK to lead the worldwide digital infrastructure revolution but we have to invest more in ensuring our infrastructure can keep up with the pace that technology is developing and evolving.

UK & Europe ,

Mike McNicholas
07 Jan 2016

During my career, I’ve learned the value of the art in engineering and the importance of human interaction. To put it as simply as I can, I’ve found that people don’t tend to buy an engineering company, they tend to buy people. I often wonder how we can make sure that the importance of human relationships is pervasive in engineering given the rise of digital engineering and technology. There are some obvious benefits to a fully digital environment, and I think we have a lot to learn from the new generation of engineers and their experience of technology. However, there is a danger of things becoming so robotic and scientific that we lose the human perspective. I want us to see digital engineering not just as technology, but as a tool to unlock greater levels of creativity, greater time for human interaction and greater time for collaboration. After all, it’s our relationships and our human perspective of the end-user in our work that lead to truly great engineering. At the moment, virtually every engineering project is a voyage of discovery; it’s not a system. However, the world is moving towards taking a manufacturing approach to construction. This would mean no project is truly a one off – instead it would be built from a kit of parts, similar to car manufacturing. The role of design therefore might change, as less time will be spent designing from scratch. This ‘kit of parts’ approach would give us more for less in terms of time and effort,

UK & Europe ,


View all

Heathrow Airport is looking to improve its passenger experience while protecting its resilience and optimising commercial returns. This is a challenge at any airport, but even more so at one of the world’s busiest airports. To help Heathrow achieve this, Atkins carried out option studies and design for the re-alignment and widening of two taxiways, as well as reconfiguration of Rapid Exit Taxiways (RETs). We also performed the investigation and recommendations for implementing time based separation for arriving aircraft – helping Heathrow ensure their aircraft landing rate is maintained, even in windy conditions. Our options review for replacement of the existing Instrument Landing System (ILS) also helped make sure aircraft can clear sensitive areas sooner, increasing landing rate in low visibility.

UK ,

Traditionally Atkins’ support to Dubai Airports (DA) has been transport focussed, with signature projects including a Landside Strategic Plan, Airside Strategic Plan and Logistics Masterplan. We were commissioned to create a holistic strategy for landside multi-modal transportation operations to address the anticipated future landside transport demand at Dubai International over the next 10 years, until operations transfer over to new Al Maktoum International Airport. Building on a reputation of high quality and consistent delivery, a broad range of opportunities have now arisen, including consultancy services to support the design and implementation of an Energy Management programme and systems. This project will see Atkins play a crucial role in helping to demonstrate that DA has a robust and integrated Energy Management performance strategy. Our multidisciplinary team will work with the client to embed an energy management programme success model as part of the work, based around the core themes of People, Process and Technical. The programme’s main objectives are to create a schedule of energy improvement initiatives; baseline and monitor electricity and water consumption; integrate all energy management activities; provide control and reporting and set realistic targets to develop and manage a complete plan to meet the DSCE directive. We have also developed an Electric Vehicle Policy, Regulations and Guidelines document on behalf of DA to identify the minimum requirements for planning, delivering and managing Electric Vehicles (EVs) within the passenger terminals and concourses of Dubai International. The Guidelines also considered the development of concourses at the new Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai which

United Arab Emirates ,

  “We’ve had this problem since the airport opened,” said Richard Harding, Head of IT Strategy and Innovation at Heathrow. “What information can you provide to passengers when they arrive?”    In February 2016 Atkins, Heathrow and innovation partners Fluxx joined forces to help answer this question at a two day Rapid Start event.  The brief was simple:  “How can we improve the arrival experience from an hour before landing to onward transport?” Multinational teams in Dubai, India, Hong Kong, Heathrow — and one in a carriage on the Heathrow Express  — worked together for 32 hours, developing ideas, building prototypes, talking to passengers and deploying experiments in the arrivals terminals.  The teams were multi-skilled, bringing together diverse skills from Atkins and Heathrow including coders, designers, customer-facing service staff, back office technologists, baggage handling experts and members of the Heathrow Express team.  The event started with insight and inspiration from innovation partners Fluxx, sharing customer experiences from Hong Kong, Singapore and Heathrow, interviews with passengers and operations staff.  More than 25 ideas were pitched and voted on, with winning ideas including a personalised navigation app, an iPad-based bag tracking system, a personal virtual assistant for arriving passengers and intelligent signage systems.  Teams were formed around winning ideas, which were prototyped and deployed over the next two days. “The energy in the room was just fantastic,” said Justin Stenner, Head of Technology for Heathrow Express.  “You guys have looked at these problems through a passenger lens,” said Chris Annetts, Heathrow’s Director of Commercial Passenger Services, “Bringing so many creative ways to

UK ,

Challenge Heathrow Terminals 1 and 5 host both international and domestic flights. The Airport wished to find a solution that would meet the UK Border Force requirement to ensure that passengers cannot swap their boarding cards once they have cleared security and then leave on a domestic departure when they were cleared originally for an international flight. Importantly, any implementation also had to balance the conflicting factors of security, cost and speed of use. Solution Atkins worked with Aurora to implement its Passenger Authentication Scanning System which uses biometric facial recognition to link a passenger to their boarding pass. The system amalgamates online check-in, airline data, biometric facial recognition technology and departure lounge systems into one seamless ‘end-to-end’ solution. In order to accommodate the varying lighting conditions that are found in the Terminal, PASS employs infrared technology to secure facial recognition of a passenger. Thanks to comprehensive trialling, bench testing and close working with the client, PASS carefully balances the three competing factors identified by the Airport. The system offers quick and simple identification capture and enrollment, it operates on Heathrow’s standard client and server machines and it meets the stringent standards of the UK Border Force. Outcome PASS has been in operation at Heathrow since 2012 and since its inception has successfully processed millions of passengers. This solution is now being extended in Heathrow’s Terminal 5 with the introduction of Self-Boarding channels which will allow passengers to board their flight using a self-service gate.

UK ,

Atkins has been co-located within London City’s operational project team since 2000, providing engineering and project management expertise vital to the airport’s expansion. In recent years, we have undertaken a range of major projects including apron reconfiguration, stand reconfiguration for E190 and A318 aircrafts and masterplan validation and implementation. Our role also included the design of new and modified facilities, including new taxiways, and the design and delivery of three new stands. This work involved multidisciplinary engineering and architectural input into the relocation of an airport access road and new stands for the current aircraft fleet including pavement design, services relocation, drainage design, stand floodlighting and airfield markings.

UK ,

Atkins’ innovative design for the new Southend Airport Station was unveiled in August 2010. It delivers a unique passenger experience while providing business and environmental benefits. Our work included the construction of two 12-car platforms and station facilities such as a booking office, kiosk, waiting accommodation and staff offices. An enclosed footbridge links the two platforms and a covered walkway gives travellers access to the airport terminal – setting the scene for a truly integrated transport system.

UK ,

Atkins is behind the long-term masterplan for the new Medina Airport and has also developed designs for the terminal to facilitate the growth of domestic, international and Hajj traffic.The scope of work, on a full multidisciplinary basis, included masterplanning, terminal design, surface access planning, sustainability strategy, and layouts for the runway, taxiway and aprons. The terminal was designed for 18 million passengers per annum with expansion up to 30 million. The masterplan also made provision for the later development of a second terminal. Our designs fit with Saudi Arabia’s desire to vastly improve the traveller experience as they make their pilgrimage.

Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ,

easyJet, the largest airline at Gatwick Airport, commissioned Atkins to help optimise its operations. We worked closely with easyJet to review their current activity which spans Gatwick’s North and South Terminals, as well as all six piers, with a view to optimising operations into a single terminal. In addition to developing a number of strategic options that would increase airside capacity and maximise pier-served stands, we also undertook option assessments which encompassed airside planning, taxiway and stand design, and enabling works including relocation of existing operational facilities and access routes. This was followed by a commission to develop the preliminary design for the preferred option, including an indepth ground services survey for the airside reconfiguration followed by detailed stand designs.

UK ,


For more information on our work and experience in airport sector, please contact:

Map of Epsom KT18 5AL, UK

Rob Jenner 
Associate Director
Woodcote Grove
Ashley Road
Epsom KT18 5BW
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1372 752933
Mob: +44 7767 44 0753
Email: rob.jenner@atkinsglobal.com

Map of London NW1 3AT, UK

Graham Bolton
Global Aviation Development Director

Euston Tower
286 Euston Road
London NW1 3AT
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 203 214 8725
Mob: +447803 25 8980
Email: graham.bolton@atkinsglobal.com



In this section you can find technical papers, thought leadership articles and brochures produced by Atkins for the aviation sector.

Title Format Size
Airports pdf 1.6MB
Geotechnical engineering: airports pdf 368KB

In this section you can find technical papers, thought leadership articles and brochures produced by Atkins for the aviation sector.

Title Format Size
Air trade pdf 194KB
Blue sky thinking pdf 317KB

In this section you can find technical papers, thought leadership articles and brochures produced by Atkins for the aviation sector.

Title Format Size
Airports DVD HTML


View all