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Airport passengers

Transforming the passenger and employee experience at key London airport

Stansted Airport’s previous Airport Public Address and Voice Alarm System (PA/VA) had reached its life expiry and needed to be replaced. Our specialist designers created an engineering solution which maximised the opportunity to improve the airport experience.

  • Service 1

Stansted Airport

  • Service 1


  • Service 1

January 2021 - December 2022

Key benefits


Improved safety standards


Enhanced and more inclusive passenger experience


Real-time announcement functionality


Design delivered on time, despite the COVID-19 pandemic


Increased programme resilience

We custom built a specialist team with the right knowledge of Stansted, the busy operational environment and complex technical requirements, to create the detailed design for Stansted Airport’s new Public Address and Voice Alarm system (PA/VA). The airport has a vast footprint across its multi-building estate, which is made up of the main terminal building, three satellite buildings, a Track Transit System, air bridges and the external entrance forecourt. Our goal was to ensure that once installed, the new system would allow passengers and airport employees to hear all announcements, regardless of where they were in the airport.

We consulted a wide range of stakeholders with diverse perspectives to ensure the project was a success. They included the airport’s passenger experience, retail, health and safety, asset and IT and communications teams, as well as Border and Customs, Security and the Fire Service.

Stanstead Airport passenger terminal
Stanstead Airport passenger terminal

Building on the initial concept designs, the detailed design phase sets out the requirements for installation of the system. To ensure the system met our customer’s expectations, the team carried out detailed analysis, surveys and modelling of the acoustics in all the buildings at the airport, in accordance with relevant industry standards. This informed:

  • The location of the new communications rooms which would accommodate the ‘back of house’ equipment
  • The ancillary design for mechanical and electrical services
  • The architectural detailing and end device equipment locations
  • The integration of the new system into the existing Building Management System

We used digital design tools and Point Cloud surveys to build a 3D model of the system and generate measurable Truview images of the entire airport. Working in this way allowed the team to ensure all technical requirements were met and to avoid any costly rework down the line. It allowed us to assess interoperability of key assets located in separate locations and the overall functionality of the system as a whole.

Operationally, this work was challenging, taking place in a complex and live environment, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic. The use of digital tools brought numerous benefits to health and wellbeing by enabling designers to work remotely.

These include:

  • Reducing the amount of time needed onsite in safety critical environments
  • Removing the need to work at height
  • Reducing carbon emissions from travel to site

This approach also allowed us to minimise the impact of the works on the travelling public. This ability to seamlessly work remotely was invaluable during the Covid-19 pandemic and meant that lockdowns caused no loss of time.

We also created a detailed installation and phased migration plan to ensure that the airport could remain open during the transition to the new system and that there would be no disruption to the travelling public.

The Costain team consulted extensively with stakeholders and adopted innovative ways of working to deliver this key transformation project on time and on budget. This is particularly impressive when you consider that the first year of the detailed design phase took place during the COVID-19 pandemic. The detailed design is the bedrock of our new Airport Public Address and Voice Alarm System. I have no doubt it will play a vital role in successful operations at the airport for a long time to come and help to make Stansted an ever more attractive option for passengers.

Craig Handford, Senior Project Manager- Capital Delivery, Stansted Airport

Contact and social

Aviation and integrated transport

Andy Clarke, Integrated transport director
01628 842444
[email protected]