9.3.1: Airport description
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Figure 9.2: Schematic configuration of an airport. Adapted from Franchini et al. .
Figure 9.3: Typical airport infrastructure. © Robert Aehnelt. / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0.
Airports are divided into land-side and air-side areas. Figure 9.19 illustrates an schematic flow in an airport. Figure 9.3 shows a layout of a medium size airport.
Land-side areas include parking lots, fuel tank farms, and access roads. Access from land-side areas to air-side areas is controlled at most airports by security systems and personal. Passengers on commercial flights access air-side areas through terminals, where they can purchase tickets, check luggage in, and clear security. One security has been cleared, the passenger is in the air-side areas.
The air-side is partially composed by a set of infrastructures formed by the runway (or runways), taxiway (or taxiways) and high-speed taxiways, together with the ramp and the apron. Also the waiting areas, which provide passenger access to aircraft and typically include duty free shops and restaurants, are considered air-side and referred to as concourses.2 Due to their high capacity and busy airspace, most international airports have air traffic control located on site. This is also considered air-side infrastructure. Notice that minor airports might not necessarily have a control tower, instead some air traffic control services would be allocated within the airport facilities.
The area where aircraft park next to a terminal to load passengers and baggage is known as a ramp or platform. Parking areas for aircraft away from terminals are generally called aprons. The difference between ramp and apron is that the ramp is typically connected to the terminal with fingers.
A taxiway is a path on an airport connecting runways with ramps, hangars, terminals, and other facilities. They are typically build on asphalt (or more rarely concrete). Busy airports typically construct high-speed or rapid-exit taxiways in order to allow aircraft to leave the runway at higher speeds. This allows the aircraft to exit the runway quicker, permitting another one to land or depart in a shorter space of time, increasing thus the capacity of the airport as it will be mentioned later on.
2. this term is often used interchangeably with terminal waiting lounges.