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Bombardier Transportation airport automated people mover



Rail Stories

Keeping the US’s busiest airports in motion

What do nine of the ten busiest airports in the United States have all in common? They all have selected BOMBARDIER INNOVIA automated people mover (APM) systems to provide a seamless travel experience for their passengers.

Starting with the world's first airport APM at Florida's Tampa airport in 1971, today Bombardier offers over 45 years experience with successful, fully-automated operation. These innovative and versatile systems offer safe driverless operation while their condition-based and predictive maintenance regimes deliver almost 100% availability for reliable mobility. 

#1 - Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport

IATA code: ATL
103,902,992 passengers a year

No matter how we look at it, Georgia’s Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is by far the world’s busiest airport. In 2017, this global mega-hub handled nearly 100 thousand flights and moved over 100 million passengers.

In order to ensure smooth arrivals and departures, Atlanta airport enlisted Bombardier’s help and in 1980 we designed and delivered the airport’s automated people mover system along with a fleet of 17 INNOVIA APM 100 vehicles. 


Bombardier Transportation airports automated people movers

In 2006, new announcements were made for Atlanta's Plane Train people mover using the voice of Susan Bennett, famous for being the voice of Apple’s Siri.

Over the years the system has been expanded to accommodate the airport’s growth and today the 59-car, 4-kilometer system moves over 80 million passengers a year. Bombardier also provides operations and maintenance services, ensuring Atlanta’s Plane Train runs 24 hours a day (operating only 20 hours one day per week) with an impressive on-time performance rating of 99.5 per cent.

Los Angeles International Airport’s new APM system is slated to open in 2023. Each train will have capacity for 200 passengers and rely on regenerative braking technology to improve energy efficiency.

#2 - Los Angeles International Airport

IATA code: LAX
84,557,968 passengers a year

Known for its four parallel runways, Los Angeles International Airport is the US’s second-busiest airport and is home to more passenger airline hubs than any other airport in the country. LAX is also the world’s fifth-busiest and, with over 80 million passengers passing through it in 2017, it’s no surprise that getting people to and from their terminals can be a challenge. The airport’s mobility needs became even more urgent after Los Angeles was selected to host the 2028 Summer Olympic Games.

That’s why in June 2018, Bombardier and its consortium partners were chosen to design, build, finance, operate, and maintain a new automated people mover system. This massive 30-year multibillion-dollar project will see Bombardier design and supply 44 INNOVIA APM 300 vehicles along with the highly-proven CITYFLO 650 automatic train control system. In addition, as part of a joint venture, Bombardier will provide 25 years of operations and maintenance services. The new system will ensure the airport’s mobility will help relieve congestion around the airport.

#3 - Chicago O’Hare International Airport

IATA code: ORD
79,828,183 passengers a year 

The US’s third-busiest airport is known for its revolutionary design created during the airline industry’s jet age. With pioneering concepts like underground refueling, permanent concourses linking aircraft and terminals, as well as direct highway access, the airport was truly visionary for its time. Since then, it has only grown.

In the spring of 2015, Bombardier won a contract to upgrade the existing automated people mover system to help safely and reliably move Chicago O’Hare’s nearly 80 million yearly passengers. The INNOVIA APM 256 vehicles were selected as their design made them uniquely suited to fit the airport’s existing guideway infrastructure and station envelopes.

 Bombardier Transportation airports automated people movers

Chicago O’Hare’s automated transit system began operation in 1993 and the system is currently in the midst of a 300-million-dollar upgrade.

#4 - Dallas Ft Worth

IATA code: DFW
67,092,194 passengers a year

Bombardier Transportation airports automated people movers

DFW’s Skylink has a fleet of 64 driverless INNOVIA APM vehicles and was designed to have a peak-hour capacity of 5,000 passengers per hour per direction

The INNOVIA APM 200 automated people mover system at the US’s 4th-busiest airport, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, opened in May 2005. Bombardier Transportation was the turnkey supplier and integrator of the 8 km (5 mi.) APM system that connects five terminals. When it opened, the Skylink was the largest airport people mover system in the world. The system uses Bombardier’s CITYFLO 650 communications-based automatic train control technology for efficient and reliable system performance. Bombardier has maintained the system and fleet since 2005 enabling Dallas’ Skylink train to run every two minutes.

#5 - Denver Int. Airport

IATA code: DEN
61,379,396 passengers a year

Bombardier Transportation airports automated people movers

Denver International Airport features an innovative four-quadrant airfield that allows simultaneous departures and arrivals in all weather conditions.

The INNOVIA APM 100 automated people mover system is the nerve center of Denver International Airport’s internal passenger mobility. This is a ‘must ride’ system between the main terminal and airside concourses B and C.

Bombardier has operated and maintained the system at the US’s 5th-busiest airport since 1993 when it opened to passenger service with 16 vehicles. Three subsequent orders expanded the fleet to 31 vehicles  and in 2017 the existing operations and maintence contact was extended for seven more years. In the summer of 2018, Denver International Airport decided to improve their APM fleet with 26 more INNOVIA cars and continued operations and maintence support. 

#6 - JFK Int. Airport, NY

IATA code: JFK
61,909,148 passengers a year

Bombardier Transportation airports automated people movers

JFK’s AirTrain system operates 24 hours, 365 days a year


Bombardier Transportation, as part of the AirRail Transit Consortium, was responsible for the design and supply of a fully automated rapid transit system for New York’s JFK International Airport.

Opened in 2003, AirTrain JFK connects 10 elevated stations and links all terminals with two branches that interface with New York’s regional transit network. Bombardier has been operating and maintaining the 13 km (8 mile) system since it opened, helping JFK keep passengers and employees moving at the US’s 6th busiest airport 24/7.

Currently an extension linking the airport's APM system to Manhattan is under discussion.

#7 - San Francisco Int. Airport

IATA code: SFO
57,793,313 passengers a year

Bombardier Transportation airports automated people movers

The six-mile AirTrain is free for passengers and operates 24/7 with trains leaving every 2 ½ minutes.

Coming in at number seven, SFO airport’s AirTrain relies upon the INNOVIA APM 100 system to move its passengers quickly and safely. When it opened in 2003, SFO’s AirTrain people mover was the first transit system in the world to use the CITYFLO 650 communications-based automatic train control (ATC) technology. The airport is currently expanding this system to service the airport’s long-term parking garage and new hotel.

The 10-kilometre netwrok is free to ride and is operated 24 hours a day.

#8 - Seattle Tacoma Int. Airport

IATA code: SEA
49,849,520 passengers a year

 Bombardier Transportation airports automated people movers

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s APM system is the only way for passengers to reach some of the airport’s satellite terminals

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport’s APM system opened in 1972 and, in 1999, the airport commissioned an overhaul complete with new rolling stock, rail control and other upgrades.

In 2003, the US’s 8th-busiest airport began rolling out its new and improved people mover system when the airport’s North Loop Line begin using the advanced INNOVIA APM 100 system. Later that year, the airport’s South Loop and Shuttle Lines got their own set of INNOVIA APM 100 vehicles. Today, Seattle’s fleet of 21 INNOVIA APM 100 vehicles has fully replaced the first generation of vehicles originally supplied by Bombardier.

#9 - McCarran Int. Airport, Las Vegas

49,716,584 passengers a year
IATA code: LAS

 Bombardier Transportation airports automated people movers

McCarran International Airport’s APM will help the airport provide the capacity to meet growing domestic and international passenger numbers

Las Vegas’ McCarran International Airport is actually home to three different APM systems. The first, the Green Line with its two parallel tracks, opened in 1985 and was upgraded in 2008 to begin using the INNOVIA APM 100. The second, and longest, Blue Line opened in 1998 and had its rolling stock upgraded to the INNOVIA APM 100 in 2009.

The newest Red Line is also equipped with INNOVIA APM 100 vehicles. With total passenger numbers on the rise, McCarran International Airport is the US’s 9th-busiest airport and the worlds 27th-busiest.  It’s also considered the 8th-busiest airport in the world according to total aircraft movement.  

Rankings based on total passenger numbers as provided by Airports Council International’s 2017 North American Airport Traffic Summary and Wikipedia.