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New wayfinding strategy for Catania Airport


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Catania Airport is the busiest airport in Sicily and the 6th busiest in Italy. The constant growth registered by the airport in the last years led SAC (Catania Airport management company) to invest in the expansion of the infrastructure that will take the handling capacity of the airport from the current seven-million passengers a year to ten-million passengers.The project involves the upgrade and extension of the airport, including the refurbishment of the old passenger terminal, additional car parks and improvements to the land-side access infrastructure.

Our Role

Steer Davies Gleave is supporting SAC in taking forward its ambitious investment plan by providing technical advice. As part of our role, we worked closely with the SAC team to develop the airport wayfinding and signage system in order to ensure that customers will be able to navigate the airport environment more easily, safely, and confidently.

The need to intervene in the wayfinding system had been already pointed out during branding development project that we carried out for Catania Airport in 2015. At that time we highlighted passenger signage as one of the key touch-points to be updated with the airport’s new visual identity.

How we did it

Our team is developing the new system according to our proven methodology of designing wayfinding systems for transport terminals.

Firstly we established the information requirements for incoming, outgoing and interchanging passengers – covering the external airport areas, the connections with other transport modes, and the facilities inside the terminals.

We then mapped passenger movements throughout the airport boundaries. This includes vehicular traffic to and from car parks, pick up and drop off areas, and pedestrian routes within the terminal.

These inputs allowed our team to determine the positions for the signs and the messages to be displayed. Optimal positioning allows to reduce the number of signs required to support effective passenger movements, optimizing flows and reducing potential congestion and risk of accidents, leading to a better use of the airport facilities.

Throughout the assignment we worked closely with SAC project team of engineers and architects in charge of planning the features of airport infrastructure expansions to ensure that our work could effectively inform the planning phase.

The work done to develop the new wayfinding strategy, underlines clearly how a well-executed wayfinding strategy can led to a significant level of service improvement at Catania airport by giving passengers more control over their journey. This in turn results in direct benefits not just for the passenger themselves in terms of stress-free airport experience, but also for the airport in terms of increasing commercial revenues.

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