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education Updated: Nov 06, 2012 17:46 IST
Charanjit S Shah


The lowdown

Airports aren’t just portals between destinations. They convey first impressions about places. An airport designer’s career has become very exciting and challenging over the years, owing to advancements in technology. There are numerous complexities involved. The two major aspects to planning an airport are air-side development and city-side development. While air-side development consists of technical issues related to runways, taxiways and apron, along with air traffic control tower etc, city-side development connects the aeroplane to the terminal building through the aerobridge. A degree in architecture is a big help. One needs to study various rules and regulations including the International Air Transport Association (IATA) norms while designing an airport. An acute business sense coupled with an understanding of the importance of return on investment is also critical. Since India lacks world-class infrastructure facilities, there is a lot of scope for development of existing as well as green airports. The need of the hour is to think globally and act locally

The average work day of an airport designer:
10am: Start the day. Collect details and documents related to the project. Study various norms, regulations and clients requirements
11.30am: Meeting with client
Noon: Presentations
1pm: Lunch break
2pm to 7.30pm:
Prepare detailed project reports, meetings with various sub-consultants, prepare estimates and get approval of designs from the clients

The payoff
Starting salary for an airport designer working in an architect’s firm is Rs. 25,000 per month, which can rise up to Rs. 3 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh with 15 to 20 years of experience. As an airport planning consultant, you can earn Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh per month. There are great opportunities in the government, semi-government and private sector

* Thorough knowledge of construction techniques and latest technology
* A good team player
* Must be well travelled and well read
* Since innovation is the mother of invention, one should have a creative bent of mind
* Good understanding of codes, norms and bylaws
* Ability to provide quality work and meet deadlines

Getting there
Though there is no special course required to be an airport planner, a bachelor’s degree in architecture with airport planning as an elective subject can help in training a person to build such specialised buildings. Thereafter, one can do specialisation and an advanced postgraduate diploma course in airport planning. Certain institutes have special short-term courses in airport planning where one can learn about the basics

Institutes and URLs
* School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi
* Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology, Ahmedabad
* Malviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur
* Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar
* Chandigarh College of Architecture
* Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi
* School of Architecture and Planning, Anna University, Chennai
* Department of Architecture, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi

Pros and cons
* Getting projects can be a difficult task
* There is good scope of employment in this field
* It’s a highly paid profession

India is aspiring for the status of a developed country. It needs a lot of development in infrastructure like airports, railway stations and highways -- Charanjit S Shah, founding principal of Creative Group, New Delhi