SMEC’s multi-disciplinary aviation team is made up of experts across the globe and right now it’s really taking off. Our Canberra-based team leads the way across the country delivering a diverse range of projects within the aviation industry. From apron parking to the concept design for Brisbane’s terminal upgrade, through to Defence Industry contracts and masterplans for regional airport hubs, we have the collective know-how to get it done.  

And since becoming part of the Surbana Jurong Group we’re also known for working on some of the biggest airport projects in the world.  

With the world constantly changing to accommodate technological advancements, the development of Smart Cities and the integration of autonomous vehicles, understanding and keeping ahead of change has become par for the course within our industry. It’s not just societal changes, we must also thoroughly understand new developments that are industry-specific. 

For example, this year we have seen many changes to strict regulations and technical frameworks.  It takes technical experts to keep across these changes and there’s not really a ceiling to our ongoing learning. Things are constantly changing, and changing technologies have a huge impact on airports.  

One of my jobs is to utilise complex industry-specific software to create models and plans that can help all of our stakeholders understand project possibilities and limitations. The programs are constantly changing and I need to frequently learn about modelling updates that include new aircraft, new data on jet blast and standards updates from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).  As we grow, our team must be 100% confident with these programs.  Whilst it’s completely accurate and reliable, like any technology it needs the human expert to drive it. 

It’s our job to walk our clients through every step of analysis, to go on site and to make sure we, and they, are fully aware of the project’s challenges and solutions.  At the end of the day, good relationships with airports, clients, team members and others is what sets us apart.  The trust in the human relationships is paramount and in my opinion our ability to form meaningful relationships places SMEC in a position of real strength. 

With the world constantly changing to accommodate technological advancements, the development of Smart Cities and the integration of autonomous vehicles, understanding and keeping ahead of change has become par for the course within our industry.

An example of how we relied on human-led technology to enhance a project is the work we undertook for Canberra Airport. The SMEC Airport team was uniquely positioned to overcome risks associated with parking multiple large international aircraft at Canberra Airport, by designing an operational parking arrangement that is the first of its kind to gain approval from CASA. 

The problem we needed to solve was that Qatar’s daily flight from Canberra to Doha overlapped with a Singapore Airline movement resulting in two Boeing 777 aircraft being parked on the apron at the same time. Parking these aircraft simultaneously saw the positioning of one of the aircraft’s wing tips over a vehicle ramp and concrete wall structure located on the apron.  

We presented horizontal 2D and 3D modelling and utilised the computer software to model exact outlines of planes, we got wing heights and ground elevations as well as going on site and seeing the reach of the aerobridge to each aircraft. We even used a guy on cherry picker to simulate the procedure for servicing the wing while it was over the ramp. 

It was this mix of on-site and off-site analyses, using people’s expertise and computer program analysis, whilst always striving to be innovative that helped us build the safety case which was based on regulatory standards, accepted national guidelines, best practices, and risk mitigation methods applicable to the Canberra Airport technical brief. 

And the proof is in the result – Qatar Airways now successfully operate daily international flights out of Canberra. 

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Author Celeste Oringo

Airport Civil Designer – With over seven years’ experience in the aviation and civil industries, Celeste has a deep understanding of Australian and international aviation regulatory requirements and is skilled in airport planning, design and operations.

More posts by Celeste Oringo

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