Bombardier Transportation - The evolution of mobility

As air travel in Asia and the Middle East continues to rise, so does the requirement for airports to heighten the travel experience. Future Airport Asia talks to Serge Bisson, vice-president automated systems, systems division at Bombardier Transportation about effective passenger flow and the benefits of automated transit systems.

Can you briefly introduce yourself as a company; who you are, what you do, and where you primarily operate?

Serge Bisson: Bombardier Transportation is a global leader in rail technology, offering the broadest portfolio in the rail industry, from vehicles and components to signalling solutions and complete transit systems, all supported by a worldwide network of service centres. The company has 36,000 employees, products or services in more than 60 countries, and an installed base of over 100,000 rail vehicles worldwide.

A key product for the airport sector is the Bombardier INNOVIA automated people mover (APM) system. Bombardier has more than 40 years' experience in designing, building, operating and maintaining APM systems, with more than 30 systems delivered, including the world's top three busiest airports - Atlanta, Beijing and London Heathrow. Innovia APM systems maintain an unprecedented track record for reliability and dependability.

Can you tell us about the role passenger services play within the modern airport?

As passenger numbers continue to rise at airports, we've found that improving passenger services is the key driver for investment. For us, this means providing train-to-plane solutions that help airports to manage passenger flows and reduce passenger congestion. Our APM systems provide passengers with the confidence to arrive directly and punctually at the appropriate terminal and check-in point. Travel is made easier with on-board information related to their onward journey. Spacious trains with ample space for luggage are designed to accommodate high passenger volumes. Seating requirements can be customised to suit the specific airport's requirements, while passengers with restricted mobility have their own designated spaces.

And how is technology changing the travel experience, particularly in Asia and the Middle East?

'Driverless' is the stand-out feature that is improving the travel experience for passengers. In a driverless system, the trains are automatically controlled by the signalling system at all times; the system does not need drivers or on-board attendants for train operation. Driverless systems are made possible due to the automation of three key subsystems: train protection, train operation and train control.

The Asian and Middle East markets have embraced driverless technology. It has reached a new level of maturity and is now seen as the most practical choice for airport and urban mobility. It brings many benefits for operators and passengers including improved safety, high reliability, headways as short as 60 seconds (measurement of time between trains) and optimised energy usage. Automated scheduling means that day-to-day operations are easily adjusted to accommodate the changing traffic demands at peak times, weekends or for special events resulting in shorter waiting times for passengers and maximum use of assets for owners. All functions are monitored from the control centre, affording split-second analysis and fast resolution, should service disruptions arise.

Tell us about your automated people mover systems (APMs), how they work and how it improves passenger flow?

The driverless INNOVIA APM 300 system is Bombardier's latest generation of APM technology. It can be supplied in many different configurations due to its customisable features and flexible operating modes, enabling it to meet the specific requirements of airports such as keeping Schengen and non-Schengen passengers apart. Sleek, aerodynamic vehicles can operate in coupled trains of up to six cars, providing generous passenger capacities. The APM's advanced suspension and guidance system, coupled with rubber-tires, reduces noise and vibration to achieve exceptional ride quality. The propulsion system allows the trains to operate at speeds up to 80km/h. Paired with the Bombardier CITYFLO 650 CBTC system- an innovative communications-based train control technology - the INNOVIA APM 300 system can achieve shorter headways and highly efficient operations.

How cost-effective is the solution?

The INNOVIA APM 300 system has been designed in a modular fashion, offering the flexibility to meet specific system requirements with customised features. In today's cost-sensitive world, we find that the turnkey approach provides the most cost-effective solution. Implementing any new transit system is complex and requires specialist system integration expertise to ensure the successful delivery of a fully operational end-to-end solution. This is even more important for a driverless transit system because the interfaces between signalling, power supply, vehicles, and so on, must be perfectly aligned. Procuring a turnkey system solution provides customers with staged milestones and prevents sudden, high-risk exposure and enables controlled management of any changes.

And what kind of environmental footprint does it have?

Our INNOVIA APM 300 system is eco-friendly, designed to minimise energy consumption and have a smaller environmental footprint. New advances with intelligent power management and the option for regenerative braking provide improved energy efficiency. Customisable features such as LED lighting, can further reduce energy consumption. Bombardier has eliminated the use of all prohibited substances and carefully controls the use of restricted substances. Instead, the vehicles use only environmentally friendly refrigerant in their air-conditioning units. The lightweight aluminium carbodies are assembled using recyclable materials that enhance environmental compatibility.

Can you outline some of your success stories in the Asian markets?

In time for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, Bombardier supplied a 2km INNOVIA APM system at Beijing Capital International Airport, one of the world's busiest airports. The system operates on a dual-guideway between three stations and serves the international terminal designated T3. The initial system was designed to carry 4,100 passengers an hour in each direction with a fleet of 11 vehicles. In 2009, seven vehicles were added to expand capacity.

China is also home to an urban APM system: the Guangzhou Pearl River New City APM, which opened in 2010. Four of the system's nine stations provide connections to lines 1, 3 and 5 of the Guangzhou City metro network. Also, in Singapore, an urban APM system has served as a feeder line since 1999, connecting with rapid-transit stations, bus interchanges, commercial complexes and schools. This system has windows that 'mist' within 6m of residential buildings, thereby eliminating privacy concerns.

At Kuala Lumpur International Airport, an INNOVIA APM system connects the main terminal building with a four-arm satellite building. The six-car shuttle system, Aerotrain, provides the best combination of short journey time, comfort and convenience to airport passengers, and reliable operation.

Do you have any interesting projects in the near future?

Yes, we certainly do. We're delivering APM systems to two Middle Eastern airports right now. In 2012, Dubai International Airport chose the INNOVIA APM 300 system to connect the existing Terminal 1 to the new Concourse 4. This turnkey project is planned to be delivered in approximately 24 months and, when complete, the 1.5km elevated system will have the capacity to carry more than 200,000 passengers daily. We're installing the same technology for the new passenger terminal building at the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, to meet the requirements of rising passenger volumes. In addition, in Europe, we're delivering a new greenfield APM system at the Munich Airport in Germany.

To conclude, Bombardier's INNOVIA APM system is a proven high-tech mode of transport that has already achieved great success at many of the world's leading airports. We're convinced that the flexibility with which these systems can be deployed and integrated within existing infrastructure, their comparatively low operating and staffing costs, as well as high-availability and punctuality will continue to attract fast-growing airports to this highly reliable solution for airport mobility.

Bombardier, Innovia and Cityflo are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. and its subsidiaries.

Bombardier Transportation, a global leader in rail technology, offers the broadest portfolio in the rail industry and delivers innovative products and services that set new standards in sustainable mobility. Bombardier Transportation is headquartered in Berlin, Germany, and has a very diverse customer base with products or services in more than 60 countries. It has an installed base of over 100,000 vehicles worldwide.

Rapid and reliable train to plane solutions

Bombardier Transportation is the global leader in the provision of rail to airport transit systems, providing trains and equipment that bring passengers to the heart of an airport. These systems provide passengers with:

  • Confidence to arrive directly and punctually at the appropriate terminal and check-in point
  • Ample space for luggage
  • The ability to relax and work during their journey
  • Onboard information relating to their onward journey.

Airport circulator

Today's modern, expanding airports often require large numbers of passengers to be transported quickly and efficiently between terminal buildings, or to other public transport links. Automated/driverless systems enable passengers to travel short distances effortlessly and conveniently. In turn, this helps airlines to optimize their flight schedules and reduce car traffic within the airport area. BOMBARDIER INNOVIA APM automated people mover systems operate at more than 25 locations across the globe including the world's top three busiest airports in Atlanta, Beijing and London.

Airport link

Direct access to an airport over relatively short, commuting distances can be facilitated by rail-airport links. Systems are designed for frequent stops and enable passengers to move between terminals, or to a nearby destination. Typically operated on dedicated routes i.e. not impacted by delays from other services, passengers can be confident in their precise journey and arrival time. BOMBARDIER INNOVIA Metro systems can be seen in operation at the JFK International Airport and Beijing International Airport. The INNOVIA Monorail was the world's first fully automated monorail system at an international airport - Newark Liberty International Airport.

Airport express

From city centre to airport, the convenience of rail travel enables passengers to relax without the frustration of congested roads, traffic delays and parking considerations. With services that travel at speed, express trains are inherently reliable with proven parts, whilst offering adaptability for the operator to vary configuration for alternative fleet usage. BOMBARDIER ELECTROSTAR electric multiple unit (EMU) trains operate on the Stansted Express route connecting central London to the Stansted Airport.


Many of today's air passengers wish to make their onward journeys to a regional, or alternative city destination. These passengers require trains that travel at high speeds, with comfortable seats, wide aisles for ease of access and plenty of storage space for luggage. Onboard information and entertainment systems help to make the journey as relaxing as possible. The Gautrain Rapid Rail Link serves OR Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg with a fleet of ELECTROSTAR EMU trains and BOMBARDIER Contessa EMU trains link between Denmark and Sweden serving Copenhagen Airport.

Airport accessibility

The growth in convenient, low cost aviation means that more passengers than ever are taking to the skies. Yet this trend is adding to congestion on already overburdened roads - around airports and neighbouring towns and cities. As well as increasing journey frustration for passengers, this leads to least minute check-ins and potentially delayed, or missed flights. Bombardier has the broadest experience of any global manufacturer in developing and delivering a complete portfolio of rail systems for airport connections, supplying the majority of the top 25 airports worldwide.

About Bombardier

Bombardier is the world's only manufacturer of both planes and trains. Looking far ahead while delivering today, Bombardier is evolving mobility worldwide by answering the call for more efficient, sustainable and enjoyable transportation everywhere. Our vehicles, services and, most of all, our employees are what make us a global leader in transportation.

Bombardier is headquartered in Montréal, Canada. Our shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange (BBD) and we are listed on the Dow Jones Sustainability World and North America Indexes. In the fiscal year ended December 31, 2012, we posted revenues of $16.8 billion. News and information are available at or follow us on Twitter @Bombardier.

BOMBARDIER, INNOVIA, ELECTROSTAR and Contessa are trademarks of Bombardier Inc. or its subsidiaries.

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