Airport

I INTRODUCTION Airport, transportation center used for the landing and takeoff of aircraft. Airports provide transportation not only for people but also for freight, such as mail, perishable foods, and other important items. An airport is composed of several areas and structures that are designed to serve the needs of both aircraft and passengers. Runways are the long, narrow areas where airplanes take off and land. Taxiways are paths that aircraft follow from the runways to the terminal building, where passengers board and exit aircraft at areas called gates located within the terminal. The terminal also contains ticket and baggage counters. The control tower is located near the terminal. From this tower, people involved in air traffic control coordinate aircraft movement both in the air and on the ground. Maintenance and refueling facilities for aircraft are located near the runways or in nearby hangars. For security purposes, access to major airports is usually limited to special roads. Many airports have large automobile parking areas or multistory ramps to accommodate travelers. Airports are among the busiest transportation centers. The business they create is vital to the world economy and individual national economies. In the United States, over 500 airports provide airline passenger service to about 600 million people annually. These airports also handle about 15 million metric tons of air cargo each year. Canada’s 26 airports in its National Airport System provide service to about 60 million passengers annually. The total annual economic impact of U.S. airports is estimated at over $500 billion. This value includes the price of airfares purchased by passengers, the salaries of airline and airport employees, taxes, and indirect earnings from related businesses and industries. Airports are so important economically that many companies will not locate factories or offices in cities that do not have an adequate airport. The busiest passenger airports in the world are Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago-O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California; Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, near Dallas, Texas; and Heathrow Airport in London, England. II TYPES OF AIRPORTS

Airports differ in size and layout depending on their function and the types of aircraft that use them. There are three major types of airports: military airports, general aviation airports, and commercial airports. Military airports have one or two paved runways, generally 3,000 to 4,600 m (10,000 to 15,000 ft) long. These airports are used only by military aircraft.

aircraft landings and takeoffs must be staggered to ensure that a safe degree of separation exists between aircraft during flight. Many airports have more than one runway. are smaller than commercial airports. shops. Some runways at general aviation airports are paved. If runways are closer together than that. but many are simply grasscovered paths. airport security involves ensuring the safety of passengers and aircraft by screening passengers and their luggage for weapons or explosives. and enter and exit aircraft. maintenance. and aircraft emergency services. such as restaurants. the prevailing wind direction and speed. A Aircraft Services The primary requirement of aircraft at an airport is an adequate runway. and the availability of land. Airports also provide many support services indirectly related to air travel. Aircraft services focus on the flight.000 to 12. which cater to small civilian aircraft. Airport runways are arranged to permit the maximum number of safe takeoffs and landings in all weather conditions.000 to 3. They usually have pairs of parallel runways from 3.700 m (10. General aviation airports have one or two runways from 900 to 1. and airport security. III AIRPORT OPERATIONS Commercial airports are designed to transfer passengers and freight to and from aircraft.300 m (4. Small commercial airports have one or two runways from 1. They are often found in rural areas or in small towns. and refueling of aircraft at the airport.000 to 8. support services.800 to 2. These airports may be small or large. In order to accomplish this transfer as efficiently and as safely as possible. Taxiways are short paths followed by aircraft that connect the runways to an area . Environmental factors such as nearby wildlife or obstructions to navigation such as mountains must also be considered when building runways.000 ft) long. Terminals are designed in a variety of ways depending on the needs and size of a given airport. depending on the size of the airport.000 ft) in length. Finally. Airports approved as destinations for flights from other countries are known as international airports. The runway of an airport allows aircraft to land at and take off from the airport. Good design practices require each runway to have a parallel taxiway so aircraft can enter or leave the runway as directly as possible. Commercial airports are used by airlines. airport operations are grouped into four general areas: aircraft services. passenger and freight services.General aviation airports. Parallel runways at civilian airports must be separated by at least 1. Facilities vary widely at general aviation airports. Runway designs at airports differ according to the type of aircraft the runway serves.500 m (3.400 m (6.000 to 5.300 ft) if simultaneous approaches are to be allowed on both runways. Large commercial airports serve the world’s major cities. load and retrieve baggage.000 ft) long and can accommodate larger aircraft than general aviation airports can. Passenger services are centered in the terminal building. parking. where passengers purchase tickets. as well as on air traffic control around the airport.

perform routine maintenance. Inside the terminal. The four different types of terminals are gate arrival. It manages all air traffic at the airport. such as the passenger list and the latest weather information. When an airplane lands. but a terminal can be organized in several different ways. Controllers inside the tower issue taxiing instructions to guide aircraft both to and from the runways and ensure that aircraft do not land or take off until the runways are clear. fuel. pier. International airports also maintain customs and immigration areas for foreign travelers. satellite. Baggage systems in the terminal distribute the luggage from each arriving flight and place the bags on large rotating carousels. smaller additional towers are staffed by airline employees who control the ground operations of the airlines they work for. it moves from the runway to the taxiway. and refuel aircraft. ground crews also work to keep runways and aircraft free of snow and ice. They load baggage. and security. Simple gate arrival terminals are the most common type of terminal found at small . often on the opposite side of the terminal.called the apron. and food service. To aid in night landings and increase visibility in foul weather. Fuel is normally stored in large tanks above ground and transported to aircraft either by underground pumping facilities or by refueling trucks. where passengers reclaim their belongings. so that other aircraft can use the runway. Repair facilities range from small facilities housed in a single hangar to large complexes that employ thousands of trained maintenance technicians. All major terminals provide the same services. and coordinate aircraft boarding. Ground crews working on the apron area near the gates help maintain aircraft in between flights. In cold climates. issue seat assignments. Gate arrival terminals are rectangular buildings that have aircraft parking on one side and have motor-vehicle parking as well. The airline tower staff manages the flow of ground vehicles and aircraft in the immediate vicinity of the terminal building. It also coordinates baggage. which surrounds the terminal gates. airline employees make flight reservations for travelers. baggage handling. The tower is centrally located and elevated so that an unobstructed view of the airport can be maintained from the tower at all times. At larger airports. The control tower is a structure located at or near the terminal. restock food and other supplies. Other airline employees provide pilots with final flight information. Aircraft preparing to take off wait on the taxiway until the runway is clear. Each type connects passengers with aircraft in different ways. B Passenger Services The airport terminal building provides all major passenger services. passenger check-in. such as ticket sales. and transporter. runways are lit with white edge lights and taxiways are lined with blue edge lights.

Nevertheless. Aircraft simply park alongside the terminal. They have many of the same characteristics of pier terminals. Satellite terminals also provide common facilities at a centralized building. Large commercial airports use gate arrival terminals also. Transporter terminals use a common building for the processing of passengers.C. One of the best examples is John F. However. and passengers walk across the apron to board the aircraft. Kennedy International Airport in New York City. Flexible covered pathways called airbridges connect the gate to the aircraft and allow passengers to board and exit the aircraft. Texas. who then board specialized vehicles known as mobile lounges that ferry passengers directly from the gate to the aircraft and back. Transporter terminals work well for passengers on direct flights but are inconvenient for passengers who are transferring to other flights. transportation to gate areas is provided by buses or by automated rail systems such as people movers (see Public Transportation). or an entire pier. Satellite terminals are in use at Houston Intercontinental Airport in Houston. and Toronto International Airport in Toronto. At most commercial airport gate terminals. The operators of such airports often find it easier to drive passengers to parked aircraft than to build an expensive new terminal. pioneered this concept. then passengers transferring to other flights may not have far to walk. the flexibility of transporter terminal systems has made them popular at airports that have experienced rapid growth. Upon arrival at the airport. such as at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. and Orlando International Airport in Orlando. since common facilities can be located in the central building instead of at each gate. since they cannot simply walk to their connecting aircraft’s gate. Each pier is known as a concourse. Canada. Pier terminals provide efficient use of space. Freight generally consists of products from many individual shippers and is commonly transported to and from the airport by truck. The majority of airfreight is flown in the belly cargo compartments of aircraft used for regularly scheduled passenger flights. Satellite terminals are often circular in layout and provide aircraft parking around their entire perimeter. Pier terminals are in use at Los Angeles International Airport.. passengers need not walk the length of a pier. Pier terminals have piers that extend outward like arms from a central building and provide boarding gates on both sides of each pier for its entire length. aircraft pull up directly to the terminal at predetermined areas called gates. Dulles International Airport in Washington. If a given airline has use of nearby gates. Since most airports were built decades ago. the majority of terminals have been modified and expanded as the airports have grown. Heathrow Airport in London. Many airports use a combination of terminal designs. D. Instead. Florida. movers load the freight onto pallets or into . C Freight Services Commercial airports also transport freight in addition to serving passengers. Ontario.airports.

currency exchanges. For these travelers. In the wake of the September 11. or long. and chapels. See also Air Transport Industry: Air Cargo. Airport fire trucks are equipped with water and a substance called aqueous film forming foam (AFFF). moving sidewalks are used to ferry passengers from the parking lots to the terminal buildings. Such carriers fly high-value or time-sensitive parcels on airplanes that carry only such parcels. newsstands. taxiways. The foam covers burning fuel more effectively than water alone and acts like a blanket to extinguish the fire. D Support Services Most terminals at commercial airports contain restaurants. IV AIRPORT SECURITY Ensuring the safety of passengers and aircraft is a major concern at airports. Many areas of an airport. Some airports feature office areas. especially those areas that contain critical equipment. Commercial airports also provide plenty of short-term and long-term automobile parking. but many travelers. lounges. all of which specialize exclusively in the air transportation of small packages and the related ground collection and distribution. and other access roads. Monorails. airport security became the responsibility of the federal government. 2001. AFFF is used to combat aircraft fuel fires. Airports can be reached by taxi and public transportation. and other retail establishments. a post office. are protected by security personnel and are off-limits to the public. Airports also maintain fire departments that are specially trained and equipped to fight aircraft fires. particularly in the United States. Integrated carriers are companies such as Federal Express. Security personnel also require that each passenger show photo identification before entering an aircraft. and DHL. Security personnel operate metal detectors and X-ray machines that screen baggage for possible weapons or illegal substances. car rental agencies. get to and from an airport by driving an automobile. Airports must also be equipped for the removal of ice and snow from aircraft. Larger terminals may also include observation stations. United Parcel Service.specialized freight containers bound for a common destination and then load the containers or pallets onto waiting aircraft. The United States Congress enacted the Aviation and Transportation Security Act in response to the . Airport parking is usually located in large parking ramps or nearby parking lots. The local fire department usually provides fire protection for the rest of the airport. shuttle buses. secure and convenient parking is a necessity. banking services. where traveling businesspeople can send and receive electronic mail and fax messages and also make telephone calls. A significant amount of airfreight consists of express-delivery package shipments that are carried by integrated carriers. runways. terrorist attacks in the United States.

VI HISTORY Airports have grown from simple grass-covered fields into some of the busiest transportation centers in the world. and building designs must be approved by the FAA before funding can be obtained. imposed standards for their training. which had exposed a number of weaknesses in airport and airline security. time-consuming. Most small airports are privately owned. and existing air traffic flows. V AIRPORT CONSTRUCTION AND ADMINISTRATION Selecting a new airport site is a complex. By the end of 2002.S. Airlines. or state or federal agencies. Airports are owned and operated by many different agencies. utilities such as water. it required that all passenger luggage. Once a proposed site has been selected. regional port or airport authorities. and retail establishments rent portions of the terminal. food service companies. Large commercial airports are usually owned by city governments. airport administration and salaries. Airports receive revenue from a number of sources. environmental impact studies.attacks. all checked luggage was to be put through special explosives-detecting devices. and made them federal employees for an interim period of time. A Airport Development . Airport sites are selected based on airport traffic volume. Only when these tasks have been completed can actual construction of an airport begin. Airports can also charge a fee on each ticket sold to pay for improvements. including checked luggage. be screened. and heat. The new law expanded the number of baggage screeners. The law increased the number of armed federal air marshals flying on domestic flights and required international airlines to turn over advance copies of their passenger lists to U. availability of ground access. Airports charge landing fees to the airlines for each airplane that lands and takes off from the airport. Local governments usually make the decision to construct or expand public airports. Aircraft noise plans. new airports are built to accommodate more passengers. and fire and security services. Beginning in January 2002. electricity. Most airports are operated by the agencies that own them. An airport also makes money from fees charged at parking lots. Some private companies have purchased entire airports from their owners and operate them for profit. moving millions of passengers worldwide. As airline traffic increases. the nearby population. a detailed site plan is prepared. but some are operated by private organizations that have a contract to operate them or that lease them from their owners. Customs officials for background checks to screen out suspected terrorists. and expensive proposition. Expenses involved in operating an airport include terminal and runway maintenance. The money to fund construction for these airports comes from taxes or from the sale of bonds.

and passenger-waiting and baggage-pickup areas. after a short ground run of 300 to 900 m (1. which could seat more than 150 passengers on each flight. These second-generation commercial airports of the 1930s were designed to serve airplanes that usually carried up to 75 passengers.000 ft). another round of construction and expansion began. domestic air-transport industry in 1978. Takeoff and landing fields in the 1910s and 1920s were generally built in any location that was convenient to the population being served. Because airplane capacity was still relatively small. In this system. so they could operate from any relatively level cleared field. facilities at many existing airports became outdated or obsolete. and air traffic controllers. Terminal buildings. Terminals designed for the passenger volumes of earlier. weather observers. all terminal functions were handled on a single floor. airport builders favored sites away from central downtown districts. and were also clear of obstructions such as tall buildings. runways now needed to be extended in length to about 3. airlines began converting their operations to hub-and-spoke systems. With the introduction of jet airplanes into commercial service in 1959. because the airplanes did not require specially prepared or paved surfaces. an airline’s passengers are collected by flights from many spoke cities and are flown to a hub airport. These marginal sites were inexpensive. were often multipurpose buildings housing the offices of a few airlines. and their sites were subsequently used for shopping centers. Pilots simply positioned their aircraft into the wind and. As a new round of airport construction began. The other fields were closed. industrial parks. if they existed at all. introduced in the 1930s. and residential developments. many cities had more than one. snack bars. Terminal buildings were usually of the gate terminal design.Early airplanes were light and had low operating speeds. To correct this. government officials chose to designate only one airport in their region as a major airport.000 m (about 10. Many new terminals were built by specific airlines to serve their own customers. took off into the air. In the years following the deregulation of the U.000 ft). which is normally located at a centralized point in the airline’s route system. Multiengine airplanes. with airplanes on one side of the building and automobile parking on the other. Passengers arrive at the hub in a wave of flights arriving at . Because airfields were relatively easy to create in the early days of aviation. New concepts in terminal design that were implemented in the 1960s featured much larger architecture than that of earlier terminals. smaller aircraft were no longer adequate for the new jet airplanes. provided enough space for expansion. To allow long-range operations by the heavier and faster jet aircraft. In most cities. were heavier and needed longer paved runways to take off and land. such as outlying farm areas or unpopulated marshlands. These airfields had no designated runways.000 to 3. as well as ticket counters.S.

nonstop flights have been largely replaced by shorter flights and smaller jets that fly as many as 12 connecting flights per day.000 sq ft). The airport opened for business in 1994. During the time the airplanes are on the ground at the hub (about 1.500 to 3.approximately the same time. Then all flights in the wave depart to the spoke cities and the whole process begins again.400 ft) long. The terminal and concourses are in the center of the airfield. Japan. The Kansai International Airport in Ōsaka. The single runway is 3.000 km (2. The airport serves over 25 million passengers per year. The total cost of the airport was $20 billion. . Colorado.300 m (4. The airport covers an area of 137 sq km (53 sq mi). The airport was built on an island that was excavated 27 m (90 ft) down to reach solid bedrock and then refilled with topsoil. It has a single runway 3. The terminal. was built on an artificial island located in Ōsaka Bay.700 m (12. Its location away from populated areas eliminated noise-pollution problems.6 mi) long. includes 75 gates. These large jets flew usually once or twice per day for each airline in the market. B Modern Airports Denver International Airport is the newest major commercial airport in the United States.000 ft) long. The runways are at least 1. it opened in 1995. permitting two or three streams of aircraft to land simultaneously. and a second parallel runway is planned for the future.000 mi) were traditionally flown in large wide-body jets holding from 250 to 400 seats.5 hours). It has five runways.300 ft) apart. Prior to the establishment of hubs in the United States. which is over 1 km (0.000 to 5. each 3.500. The control tower is 33 stories tall.500 m (11.000 ft) long. allowing Kansai to become the first Japanese airport that is open 24 hours a day. as well as facilities able to meet the demands of 35 million passengers and 3 million tons of air cargo shipped annually. long. cover 140.800 m (12. The island is connected to the mainland by a bridge and is served by several ferries. Located outside Denver. passengers transfer to other airplanes that are going to their ultimate destination. The Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport opened in 1998. This pattern is repeated throughout the day to provide service at convenient frequencies. A second runway is under construction. and include 94 airline gates.000 sq m (1. With the advent of the hub-and-spoke system. nonstop domestic flights of 4.

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