A new operations centre has opened at Michigan’s Gerald R Ford International Airport, the US state’s second busiest airport.

The new facility will consolidate key teams such as operations and communications. It will also include a new emergency operations centre (EOC), which will support tenants and mutual aid agencies in Kent County in the event of an emergency at the airport.

The facility is accessible air-side and public-side, enabling it to provide daily operations support and making it easily reachable during an emergency. In a second phase, the airport plans to expand the centre to include its fire department.

The user-friendly building is staffed 24/7 and is built to withstand extreme weather conditions, including winds of up to 250 miles-per-hour. It is equipped with purposeful redundancies in technologies and communication channels to ensure services continue during an emergency. A heated parking bay ensures that vehicles stay out of the elements and snow-free.

A video wall displays important resources, such as current NOTAMs, flight tracking, flight arrival and departure times, and security cameras. Special attention has been given to creating a space that is both functional and pleasant to work in, the airport operator said. The facility also includes a data centre, video walls and special document review spaces, as well as an office, conference and break spaces.

With two fully functional consoles, communications specialists can easily dispatch police, fire, maintenance and janitorial teams and utilise colour-coded display lights to indicate to other team members when someone has an emergency call in progress.

“Thank you to the many partners who had a hand in this process,” said Tory Richardson, Ford International Airport Authority president and CEO. “Seeing the finished building is an exciting next step in the future advancements at the airport so that we can best serve West Michigan and beyond."

Image: Gerald R Ford International Airport Authority