Airport

Airport

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An airport is a location where aircraft
Aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

 such as fixed-wing aircraft
Fixed-wing aircraft
A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

, helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

s, and blimp
Blimp
A blimp, or non-rigid airship, is a floating airship without an internal supporting framework or keel. A non-rigid airship differs from a semi-rigid airship and a rigid airship in that it does not have any rigid structure, neither a complete framework nor a partial keel, to help the airbag...

s take off and land. Aircraft may be stored or maintained at an airport. An airport consists of at least one surface such as a runway
Runway
According to ICAO a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and take-off of aircraft." Runways may be a man-made surface or a natural surface .- Orientation and dimensions :Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, which is generally one tenth...

 for a plane to take off and land, a helipad
Helipad
Helipad is a common abbreviation for helicopter landing pad, a landing area for helicopters. While helicopters are able to operate on a variety of relatively flat surfaces, a fabricated helipad provides a clearly marked hard surface away from obstacles where a helicopter can safely...

, or water for takeoff
Takeoff
Takeoff is the phase of flight in which an aerospace vehicle goes from the ground to flying in the air.For horizontal takeoff aircraft this usually involves starting with a transition from moving along the ground on a runway. For balloons, helicopters and some specialized fixed-wing aircraft , no...

s and landing
Landing
thumb|A [[Mute Swan]] alighting. Note the ruffled feathers on top of the wings indicate that the swan is flying at the [[Stall |stall]]ing speed...

s, and often includes buildings such as control tower
Control tower
A control tower, or more specifically an Air Traffic Control Tower , is the name of the airport building from which the air traffic control unit controls the movement of aircraft on and around the airport. Control towers are also used to control the traffic for other forms of transportation such...

s, hangar
Hangar
A hangar is a closed structure to hold aircraft or spacecraft in protective storage. Most hangars are built of metal, but other materials such as wood and concrete are also sometimes used...

s and terminal
Airport terminal
An airport terminal is a building at an airport where passengers transfer between ground transportation and the facilities that allow them to board and disembark from aircraft....

 buildings.

Larger airports may have fixed base operator services
Fixed base operator
A Fixed-base operator or commonly abbreviated FBO is a term developed in the United States after the passage of the Air Commerce Act of 1926...

, seaplane
Seaplane
A seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft...

 docks and ramps
Airport ramp
The airport ramp or apron is part of an airport. It is usually the area where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refueled or boarded. Although the use of the apron is covered by regulations, such as lighting on vehicles, it is typically more accessible to users than the runway or taxiway...

, air traffic control
Air traffic control
Air traffic control is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other...

, passenger facilities such as restaurants and lounges
Airport lounge
An airport lounge is a lounge owned by a particular airline . Many offer private meeting rooms, phone, fax, wireless and Internet access and other business services, along with provisions to enhance comfort such as free drinks and snacks...

, and emergency service
Emergency service
Emergency services are organizations which ensure public safety and health by addressing different emergencies. Some agencies exist solely for addressing certain types of emergencies whilst others deal with ad hoc emergencies as part of their normal responsibilities...

s. A military
Military
A military is an organization authorized by its greater society to use lethal force, usually including use of weapons, in defending its country by combating actual or perceived threats. The military may have additional functions of use to its greater society, such as advancing a political agenda e.g...

 airport is known as an airbase or air station
Naval Air Station
A Naval Air Station is a military airbase, and consists of a permanent land-based operations locations for the military aviation division of the relevant branch of their Navy...

.

Terminology


The terms aerodrome
Aerodrome
An aerodrome, airdrome or airfield is a term for any location from which aircraft flight operations take place, regardless of whether they involve cargo, passengers or neither...

, airdrome, airfield, and airstrip may also be used to refer to airports, and the terms heliport
Heliport
A heliport is a small airport suitable only for use by helicopters. Heliports typically contain one or more helipads and may have limited facilities such as fuel, lighting, a windsock, or even hangars...

, seaplane base, and STOLport
STOLport
A STOLport or STOLPORT is an airport designed with STOL operations in mind, normally having a short single runway; shorter than . The term does not appear to be in common usage as of 2008...

refer to airports dedicated exclusively to helicopters, seaplanes, or short take-off and landing
STOL
STOL is an acronym for short take-off and landing, a term used to describe aircraft with very short runway requirements.-Definitions:There is no one accepted definition of STOL and many different definitions have been used by different authorities and nations at various times and for a myriad of...

 aircraft.

In colloquial use, the terms airport and aerodrome are often interchanged. However, in general, the term airport may imply or confer a certain stature upon the aviation facility that an aerodrome proper may not have achieved. In some jurisdictions, airport is a legal term of art
Technical terminology
Technical terminology is the specialized vocabulary of any field, not just technical fields. The same is true of the synonyms technical terms, terms of art, shop talk and words of art, which do not necessarily refer to technology or art...

 reserved exclusively for those aerodromes certified or licensed as airports by the relevant governing organization (e.g. the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is the national aviation authority of the United States. An agency of the United States Department of Transportation, it has authority to regulate and oversee all aspects of civil aviation in the U.S...

 (FAA), or Transport Canada
Transport Canada
Transport Canada is the department within the government of Canada which is responsible for developing regulations, policies and services of transportation in Canada. It is part of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio...

) after meeting specified certification criteria or regulatory requirements.

That is to say, in the purest sense, all airports are aerodromes, but not all aerodromes are airports. Other jurisdictions define an airport as one that is furnished with the customs
Customs
Customs is an authority or agency in a country responsible for collecting and safeguarding customs duties and for controlling the flow of goods including animals, transports, personal effects and hazardous items in and out of a country...

 offices expected of a port of entry
Port of entry
In general, a port of entry is a place where one may lawfully enter a country. It typically has a staff of people who check passports and visas and inspect luggage to assure that contraband is not imported. International airports are usually ports of entry, as are road and rail crossings on a...

, though the more general term for such aerodromes is airport of entry
Airport of Entry
An airport of entry is an airport that provides customs and immigration services for incoming flights. These services allow the airport to serve as an initial port of entry for foreign visitors arriving in a country.-Africa:-Americas:-Asia:...

. In jurisdictions where there is no legal distinction between aerodrome and airport, the terms are often used according to the users' or managers' preference.

Infrastructure



Smaller or less-developed airports—which represent the vast majority—often have a single runway shorter than 1000 m (3,280.8 ft). Larger airports for airline
Airline
An airline provides air transport services for traveling passengers and freight. Airlines lease or own their aircraft with which to supply these services and may form partnerships or alliances with other airlines for mutual benefit...

 flights generally have paved runways 2000 m (6,561.7 ft) or longer. Many small airports have dirt, grass
Grass
Grasses, or more technically graminoids, are monocotyledonous, usually herbaceous plants with narrow leaves growing from the base. They include the "true grasses", of the Poaceae family, as well as the sedges and the rushes . The true grasses include cereals, bamboo and the grasses of lawns ...

, or gravel
Gravel
Gravel is composed of unconsolidated rock fragments that have a general particle size range and include size classes from granule- to boulder-sized fragments. Gravel can be sub-categorized into granule and cobble...

 runways, rather than asphalt
Asphalt
Asphalt or , also known as bitumen, is a sticky, black and highly viscous liquid or semi-solid that is present in most crude petroleums and in some natural deposits, it is a substance classed as a pitch...

 or concrete
Concrete
Concrete is a composite construction material, composed of cement and other cementitious materials such as fly ash and slag cement, aggregate , water and chemical admixtures.The word concrete comes from the Latin word...

.

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, the minimum dimensions for dry, hard landing fields are defined by the FAR Landing And Takeoff Field Lengths
Federal Aviation Regulations
The Federal Aviation Regulations, or FARs, are rules prescribed by the Federal Aviation Administration governing all aviation activities in the United States. The FARs are part of Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations...

. These include considerations for safety margins during landing and takeoff. Heavier aircraft require longer runways.

The longest public-use runway in the world is at Qamdo Bangda Airport
Qamdo Bangda Airport
Qamdo Bamda Airport , also known as Bangda Airport, located in Bangda, Qamdo, Tibet, is the highest airport in the world, at an elevation of . Runway 14/32 is the longest publicly used runway in the world, at ....

 in China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

. It has a length of 5500 m (18,045 ft). The world's widest paved runway is at Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport
Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport
-References:* ASN...

 in Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 and is 105 m (344 ft) wide.

As of 2009, the CIA
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 stated that there were approximately 44,000 "... airports or airfields recognizable from the air" around the world, including 15,095 in the US, the US having the most in the world.

Airport ownership and operation


Most of the world's airports are owned by local, regional, or national government
Government
Government refers to the legislators, administrators, and arbitrators in the administrative bureaucracy who control a state at a given time, and to the system of government by which they are organized...

 bodies who then lease the airport to private corporation
Corporation
A corporation is created under the laws of a state as a separate legal entity that has privileges and liabilities that are distinct from those of its members. There are many different forms of corporations, most of which are used to conduct business. Early corporations were established by charter...

s who oversee the airport's operation. For example, BAA Limited (BAA) operates seven of the commercial airports in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, as well as several other airports outside of the UK. Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

's Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport
Frankfurt Airport may refer to:Airports of Frankfurt, Germany:*Frankfurt Airport , the largest airport in Germany*Frankfurt Egelsbach Airport, a general aviation airport*Frankfurt-Hahn Airport , a converted U.S...

 is managed by the quasi-private firm Fraport
Fraport
Fraport AG Frankfurt Airport Services Worldwide is a German transport company which operates the Frankfurt International Airport serving Frankfurt am Main and holds interests in the operation of several other airports around the world. In the past the firm also managed the smaller Frankfurt-Hahn...

. While in India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 GMR Group
GMR Group
GMR Group is a major infrastructure company in India which is headquartered in Bangalore. The company was founded in 1978 by Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao The core business areas of the company include airports, energy and highways; apart from having presence in the agriculture and aviation sectors...

 operates, through joint venture
Joint venture
A joint venture is a business agreement in which parties agree to develop, for a finite time, a new entity and new assets by contributing equity. They exercise control over the enterprise and consequently share revenues, expenses and assets...

s, Indira Gandhi International Airport
Indira Gandhi International Airport
Indira Gandhi International Airport is the primary international airport of the National Capital Region of Delhi, India, situated in West Delhi, 16 km southwest of New Delhi city centre. Named after Indira Gandhi, the former Prime Minister of India, it is the busiest airport in India in...

 and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Bengaluru International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport  are controlled by GVK Group. The rest of India's airports are managed by the Airports Authority of India
Airports Authority of India
The Airports Authority of India is an organization working under the Ministry of Civil Aviation that manages most of the airports in India. The AAI manages and operates 126 airports including 16 international airports, 89 domestic airports and 26 civil enclaves. The corporate headquarters are at...

.

In the United States commercial airports are generally operated directly by government entities or government-created airport authorities (also known as port authorities
Port authority
In Canada and the United States a port authority is a governmental or quasi-governmental public authority for a special-purpose district usually formed by a legislative body to operate ports and other transportation infrastructure.Port authorities are usually governed by boards or...

), such as the Los Angeles World Airports
Los Angeles World Airports
Los Angeles World Airports or LAWA is the airport oversight and operations department for the city of Los Angeles, California, United States...

 authority that oversees several airports in the Greater Los Angeles area
Greater Los Angeles Area
The Greater Los Angeles Area, or the Southland, is a term used for the Combined Statistical Area sprawled over five counties in the southern part of California, namely Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County and Ventura County...

, including Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport
Los Angeles International Airport is the primary airport serving the Greater Los Angeles Area, the second-most populated metropolitan area in the United States. It is most often referred to by its IATA airport code LAX, with the letters pronounced individually...

.

In Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, the federal authority, Transport Canada, divested itself of all but the remotest airports in 1999/2000. Now most airports in Canada are owned and operated by individual legal authorities or are municipally owned.

Many US airports still lease part or all of their facilities to outside firms, who operate functions such as retail management and parking. In the US, all commercial airport runways are certified by the FAA under the Code of Federal Regulations
Code of Federal Regulations
The Code of Federal Regulations is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government of the United States.The CFR is published by the Office of the Federal Register, an agency...

 Title 14 Part 139, "Certification of Commercial Service Airports" but maintained by the local airport under the regulatory authority of the FAA.

Despite the reluctance to privatize airports in the US (despite the FAA sponsoring a privatization program since 1996), the government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) arrangement is the standard for the operation of commercial airports in the rest of the world.

Airport structures


Airports are divided into landside and airside areas. Landside areas include parking lot
Parking lot
A parking lot , also known as car lot, is a cleared area that is intended for parking vehicles. Usually, the term refers to a dedicated area that has been provided with a durable or semi-durable surface....

s, public transport
Public transport
Public transport is a shared passenger transportation service which is available for use by the general public, as distinct from modes such as taxicab, car pooling or hired buses which are not shared by strangers without private arrangement.Public transport modes include buses, trolleybuses, trams...

ation train station
Train station
A train station, also called a railroad station or railway station and often shortened to just station,"Station" is commonly understood to mean "train station" unless otherwise qualified. This is evident from dictionary entries e.g...

s, tank farms
Oil depot
An oil depot is an industrial facility for the storage of oil and/or petrochemical products and from which these products are usually transported to end users or further storage facilities...

 and access road
Road
A road is a thoroughfare, route, or way on land between two places, which typically has been paved or otherwise improved to allow travel by some conveyance, including a horse, cart, or motor vehicle. Roads consist of one, or sometimes two, roadways each with one or more lanes and also any...

s. Airside areas include all areas accessible to aircraft, including runways, taxiway
Taxiway
A taxiway is a path on an airport connecting runways with ramps, hangars, terminals and other facilities. They mostly have hard surface such as asphalt or concrete, although smaller airports sometimes use gravel or grass....

s, ramps
Airport ramp
The airport ramp or apron is part of an airport. It is usually the area where aircraft are parked, unloaded or loaded, refueled or boarded. Although the use of the apron is covered by regulations, such as lighting on vehicles, it is typically more accessible to users than the runway or taxiway...

 and tank farms. Access from landside areas to airside areas is tightly controlled at most airports. Passengers on commercial flights access airside areas through terminals, where they can purchase tickets, clear security
Airport security
Airport security refers to the techniques and methods used in protecting airports and aircraft from crime.Large numbers of people pass through airports. This presents potential targets for terrorism and other forms of crime due to the number of people located in a particular location...

 check, or claim luggage
Baggage claim
In airport terminals, a baggage claim area is an area where arriving passengers claim checked-in baggage after disembarking from an airline flight. The alternative term baggage reclaim is used to mean the same thing at many airports outside the USA In airport terminals, a baggage claim area is an...

 and board aircraft through gates
Gate (airport)
A gate in aviation is a long, movable, "bridge" that allows passengers to embark and disembark their aircraft.* Jetway bridges* Air stairs, either built into the aircraft or from a mobile vehicle* Mobile lounges...

. The waiting areas which provide passenger access to aircraft are typically called concourses, although this term is often used interchangeably with terminal.


The area where aircraft park next to a terminal to load passengers and baggage is known as a ramp (or "the tarmac
Tarmac
Tarmac is a type of road surface. Tarmac refers to a material patented by Edgar Purnell Hooley in 1901...

"). Parking areas for aircraft away from terminals are called aprons.

Airports can be towered or non-towered
Non-towered airport
A non-towered airport, sometimes referred to as an uncontrolled airport, is an airport with no operating tower, or air traffic control unit...

, depending on air traffic density and available funds. Due to their high capacity and busy airspace
Airspace
Airspace means the portion of the atmosphere controlled by a country above its territory, including its territorial waters or, more generally, any specific three-dimensional portion of the atmosphere....

, many international airport
International airport
An international airport is any airport that can accommodate flights from other countries and are typically equipped with customs and immigration facilities to handle these flights to and from other countries...

s have air traffic control located on site.

Airports with international flights have customs and immigration
Immigration
Immigration is the act of foreigners passing or coming into a country for the purpose of permanent residence...

 facilities. However, as some countries have agreements that allow travel between them without customs and immigrations, such facilities are not a definitive need for an international airport. International flights often require a higher level of physical security, although in recent years, many countries have adopted the same level of security for international and domestic travel.

Some airport structures include on-site hotel
Hotel
A hotel is an establishment that provides paid lodging on a short-term basis. The provision of basic accommodation, in times past, consisting only of a room with a bed, a cupboard, a small table and a washstand has largely been replaced by rooms with modern facilities, including en-suite bathrooms...

s built within or attached to a terminal building. Airport hotels have grown popular due to their convenience for transient passengers and easy accessibility to the airport terminal. Many airport hotels also have agreements with airlines to provide overnight lodging
Lodging
Lodging is a type of residential accommodation. People who travel and stay away from home for more than a day need lodging for sleep, rest, safety, shelter from cold temperatures or rain, storage of luggage and access to common household functions.Lodgings may be self catering in which case no...

 for displaced passengers.

"Floating airport
Floating airport
A floating airport is an airport built and situated on a very large floating structure located many miles out at sea utilizing a flotation type of device or devices such as Pneumatic Stabilized Platform technology....

s" are being designed which could be located out at sea and which would use designs such as pneumatic stabilized platform
Pneumatic stabilized platform
A Pneumatic stabilized platform is a technology used to float a very large floating structure .PSP utilizes indirect displacement, in which a platform rests on trapped air that displaces the water. The primary buoyancy force is provided by air pressure acting on the underside of the deck...

 technology.

Products and services


Most major airports provide commercial outlets for products and services. Most of these companies, many of which are internationally-known brands, are located within the departure areas. These include clothing boutiques and restaurants. Prices charged for items sold at these outlets are generally higher than those outside the airport. However, some airports now regulate costs to keep them comparable to "street prices". This term is misleading as prices often match the manufacturers' suggested retail price
Suggested retail price
The manufacturer's suggested retail price , list price or recommended retail price of a product is the price which the manufacturer recommends that the retailer sell the product. The intention was to help to standardise prices among locations...

 (MSRP) but are almost never discounted.

Apart from major fast food chains, some airport restaurants offer regional cuisine specialties for those in transit so that they may sample local food or culture without leaving the airport.

Major airports in such countries as Russia and Japan offer miniature sleeping units within the airport that are available for rent by the hour. The smallest type is the capsule hotel
Capsule hotel
A is a type of hotel with a large number of extremely small "rooms" intended to provide cheap and basic overnight accommodation for guests not requiring the services offered by more conventional hotels...

 popular in Japan. A slightly larger variety is known as a sleep box
Sleep box
A Sleep box is a small accommodation that is convenient, safe, clean and economical, allowing people in transit to sleep in places where they might not have an option of a bed. The term has been used at least as early as 1946.-Brands:...

. An even larger type is provided by the company YOtel
YOtel
Yotel is a YO! Company hotel brand with hotels at airports founded by Simon Woodroffe and Gerard Greene. Its rooms are larger than those in capsule hotels but are very small relative to traditional hotel rooms. Room sizes are Premium , Twin and Standard...

.

Premium and VIP services



Airports may also contain premium and VIP services. The premium and VIP services may include express check-in
Airport check-in
Airport check-in uses service counters found at commercial airports handling commercial air travel. The check-in is normally handled by an airline itself or a handling agent working on behalf of an airline...

, dedicated check-in counters, separate departures and/or arrivals lounge, priority boarding
Boarding (transport)
Boarding is a term to describe the entry of passengers onto a vehicle, usually in public transportation. Boarding starts with entering the vehicle and ends with the seating of each passenger and closure of the doors...

, separate air bridges, and priority baggage handling.

These services are usually reserved for First
First class (aviation)
First class is a luxury travel class on some airliners that exceeds business class, premium economy, and economy class. On a passenger jetliner, first class refers to a limited number of seats or cabins located in the front of the aircraft which are notable for their comfort, service, and privacy...

 and Business class
Business class
Business class is a travel class available on many commercial airlines and rail lines, known by brand names which vary by airline or rail company. In the airline industry, it was originally intended as an intermediate level of service between economy class and first class, but many airlines now...

 passengers, premium frequent flyers, and members of the airline's clubs. Premium services may sometimes be open to passengers who are members of a different airline's frequent flyer program. This can sometimes be part of a reciprocal deal, as when multiple airlines are part of the same alliance, or as a ploy to attract premium customers away from rival airlines.

Sometimes these premium services will be offered to a non-premium passenger if the airline has made a mistake in handling of the passenger, such as unreasonable delays or mishandling of checked baggage.

Airline lounges frequently offer free or reduced cost food, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Lounges themselves typically have seating, showers, quiet areas, televisions, computer, Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi or Wifi, is a mechanism for wirelessly connecting electronic devices. A device enabled with Wi-Fi, such as a personal computer, video game console, smartphone, or digital audio player, can connect to the Internet via a wireless network access point. An access point has a range of about 20...

 and Internet access, and power outlets that passengers may use for their electronic equipment. Some airline lounges employ barista
Barista
A barista is a person, usually a coffee-house employee, who prepares and serves espresso-based coffee drinks.- Application of the title :...

s, bartenders and gourmet chefs.

Airlines sometimes operate multiple lounges within the one airport terminal allowing ultra-premium customers, such as first class customers, additional services, which are not available to other premium customers. Multiple lounges may also prevent overcrowding of the lounge facilities.

Cargo and freight services


In addition to people, airports move cargo around the clock. Cargo airline
Cargo airline
Cargo airlines are airlines dedicated to the transport of cargo. Some cargo airlines are divisions or subsidiaries of larger passenger airlines.-Logistics:...

s often have their own on-site and adjacent infrastructure to transfer parcels between ground and air.
Cargo Terminal Facilities
International airports need areas where export cargo has to be stored after customs clearance and prior to loading on the aircraft. Similarly import cargo that is offloaded needs to be in bond before the consignee decides to take delivery. Areas have to be kept aside for examination of export and import cargo by the airport authorities. Designated areas or sheds may be given to airlines or freight forward ring agencies.
Every cargo terminal has a landside and an airside. The landside is where the exporters and importers through either their agents or by themselves deliver or collect shipments while the airside is where loads are moved to or from the aircraft. In addition cargo terminals are divided into distinct areas - export, import and interline or transhipment

Support services


Aircraft maintenance, pilot services, aircraft rental, and hangar rental are most often performed by a fixed base operator (FBO). At major airports, particularly those used as hubs
Airline hub
An airline hub is an airport that an airline uses as a transfer point to get passengers to their intended destination. It is part of a hub and spoke model, where travelers moving between airports not served by direct flights change planes en route to their destinations...

, airlines may operate their own support facilities.

Some airports, typically military airbases, have long runways used as emergency landing
Emergency landing
An emergency landing is a landing made by an aircraft in response to a crisis which either interferes with the operation of the aircraft or involves sudden medical emergencies necessitating diversion to the nearest airport.-Types of emergency landings:...

 sites. Many airbases have arresting equipment for fast aircraft, known as arresting gear
Arresting gear
Arresting gear, or arrestor gear, is the name used for mechanical systems designed to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands. Arresting gear on aircraft carriers is an essential component of naval aviation, and it is most commonly used on CATOBAR and STOBAR aircraft carriers. Similar systems...

 – a strong cable suspended just above the runway and attached to a hydraulic reduction gear
Gear ratio
The gear ratio of a gear train is the ratio of the angular velocity of the input gear to the angular velocity of the output gear, also known as the speed ratio of the gear train. The gear ratio can be computed directly from the numbers of teeth of the various gears that engage to form the gear...

 mechanism. Together with the landing aircraft's arresting hook
Tailhook
A tailhook, also arresting hook or arrester hook, is a device attached to the empennage of some military fixed wing aircraft...

, it is used in situations where the aircraft's brake
Brake
A brake is a mechanical device which inhibits motion. Its opposite component is a clutch. The rest of this article is dedicated to various types of vehicular brakes....

s would be insufficient by themselves.

Airport access


Many large airports are located near railway
Rail transport
Rail transport is a means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks. In contrast to road transport, where vehicles merely run on a prepared surface, rail vehicles are also directionally guided by the tracks they run on...

 trunk routes for seamless connection of multimodal transport
Multimodal transport
Multimodal transport is the transportation of goods under a single contract, but performed with at least two different means of transport; the carrier is liable for the entire carriage, even though it is performed by several different modes of transport...

, for instance Frankfurt Airport, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport
London Heathrow Airport or Heathrow , in the London Borough of Hillingdon, is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom and the third busiest airport in the world in terms of total passenger traffic, handling more international passengers than any other airport around the globe...

, London Gatwick Airport
London Gatwick Airport
Gatwick Airport is located 3.1 miles north of the centre of Crawley, West Sussex, and south of Central London. Previously known as London Gatwick,In 2010, the name changed from London Gatwick Airport to Gatwick Airport...

 and London Stansted Airport
London Stansted Airport
-Cargo:-Statistics:-Infrastructure:-Terminal and satellite buildings:Stansted is the newest passenger airport of all the main London airports. The terminal is an oblong glass building, and is separated in to three areas: Check-in concourse, arrivals and departures...

. It is also common to connect an airport and a city with rapid transit
Rapid transit
A rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated railway, metro or metropolitan railway system is an electric passenger railway in an urban area with a high capacity and frequency, and grade separation from other traffic. Rapid transit systems are typically located either in underground tunnels or on...

, light rail
Light rail
Light rail or light rail transit is a form of urban rail public transportation that generally has a lower capacity and lower speed than heavy rail and metro systems, but higher capacity and higher speed than traditional street-running tram systems...

 lines or other non-road public transport systems, for instance the AirTrain JFK
AirTrain JFK
AirTrain JFK is a 3-line, -long people mover system and elevated railway in New York City providing service to John F. Kennedy International Airport...

 at John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport
John F. Kennedy International Airport is an international airport located in the borough of Queens in New York City, about southeast of Lower Manhattan. It is the busiest international air passenger gateway to the United States, handling more international traffic than any other airport in North...

 in New York
Transportation in New York City
The transportation system of New York City is a cooperation of complex systems of infrastructure. New York City, being the largest city in the United States, has a transportation system which includes the largest subway system in the world, measured by track mileage; the world's first mechanically...

 and the Silver Line
Silver Line (MBTA)
The Silver Line is the only bus rapid transit line currently operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority . It operates in two sections; the first runs from Dudley Square in Roxbury to downtown Boston, Massachusetts and South Station, mostly via Washington Street, with buses...

 T at Boston
Boston
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region. The city proper had...

's Logan International Airport
Logan International Airport
General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport is located in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts . It covers , has six runways, and employs an estimated 16,000 people. It is the 19th busiest airport in the United States.Boston serves as a focus city for JetBlue Airways...

 by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, often referred to as the MBTA or simply The T, is the public operator of most bus, subway, commuter rail and ferry systems in the greater Boston, Massachusetts, area. Officially a "body politic and corporate, and a political subdivision" of the...

 (MBTA). Such a connection lowers risk of missed flights due to traffic congestion
Traffic congestion
Traffic congestion is a condition on road networks that occurs as use increases, and is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular queueing. The most common example is the physical use of roads by vehicles. When traffic demand is great enough that the interaction...

. Large airports usually have access also through controlled-access highway
Controlled-access highway
A controlled-access highway is a highway designed exclusively for high-speed vehicular traffic, with all traffic flow and ingress/egress regulated...

s ('freeways' or 'motorways') from which motor vehicles enter either the departure loop or the arrival loop.

Internal transport


The distances passengers need to move within a large airport can be substantial. It is common for airports to provide moving walkway
Moving walkway
A moving walkway or moving sidewalk is a slow moving conveyor mechanism that transports people, across a horizontal...

s and buses. The Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport has a tram that takes people through the concourses and baggage claim. Major airports with more than one terminal offer inter-terminal transportation, such as Mexico City International Airport
Mexico City International Airport
Benito Juárez International Airport , in Venustiano Carranza, one of the sixteen boroughs into which Mexico's Federal District is divided, is a commercial airport that serves Mexico City, the capital of Mexico...

, where the domestic building of Terminal 1 is connected by Aerotrén
Aerotren
The Aerotrén is a people mover operating at Mexico City International Airport, near Mexico City, in Mexico. The automated people mover provides a link between Terminal 1 and Terminal 2....

 to Terminal 2, on the other side of the airport.

History and development


The first use of the term "airport" originated in Southampton
Southampton
Southampton is the largest city in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England, and is situated south-west of London and north-west of Portsmouth. Southampton is a major port and the closest city to the New Forest...

, England; when the flying boats landed and departed from the port of Southampton, it was named ‘air-port’ by the Mayor of Southampton.

The earliest aircraft takeoff and landing sites were grassy fields. The plane could approach at any angle that provided a favorable wind direction. A slight improvement was the dirt-only field, which eliminated the drag from grass. However, these only functioned well in dry conditions. Later, concrete surfaces would allow landings, rain or shine, day or night.

The title of "world's oldest airport" is disputed, but College Park Airport
College Park Airport
College Park Airport is a public airport located in the City of College Park, in Prince Georges County, Maryland, USA. It is the world's oldest continuously operated airport.-History:...

 in Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

, US, established in 1909 by Wilbur Wright
Wright brothers
The Wright brothers, Orville and Wilbur , were two Americans credited with inventing and building the world's first successful airplane and making the first controlled, powered and sustained heavier-than-air human flight, on December 17, 1903...

, is generally agreed to be the world's oldest continually operating airfield, although it serves only general aviation
General aviation
General aviation is one of the two categories of civil aviation. It refers to all flights other than military and scheduled airline and regular cargo flights, both private and commercial. General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to large, non-scheduled cargo jet flights...

 traffic.

Another claim to the world's oldest airport is from Bisbee-Douglas International Airport
Bisbee-Douglas International Airport
Bisbee Douglas International Airport is a county-owned public-use airport located eight nautical miles northwest of the central business district of Douglas and east of Bisbee, both cities in Cochise County, Arizona, United States...

, Douglas
Douglas, Arizona
Douglas is a city in Cochise County, Arizona, United States. Douglas has a border crossing with Mexico and a history of mining.The population was 14,312 at the 2000 census...

, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

, US, which had the first airplane in the state. In 1908 the Douglas Aeronautical Club was formed, starting with a glider
Glider aircraft
Glider aircraft are heavier-than-air craft that are supported in flight by the dynamic reaction of the air against their lifting surfaces, and whose free flight does not depend on an engine. Mostly these types of aircraft are intended for routine operation without engines, though engine failure can...

 made from mail order
Mail order
Mail order is a term which describes the buying of goods or services by mail delivery. The buyer places an order for the desired products with the merchant through some remote method such as through a telephone call or web site. Then, the products are delivered to the customer...

 plans. This glider was pulled into the air by two horses and flown behind the Douglas YMCA
YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...

 building. In 1909 a motor and propeller were put on the airplane, making it the first powered airplane in Arizona. The airport's status as the first international airport in the US is confirmed by a letter from President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 declaring it "the first international airport of the Americas".

Albany International Airport
Albany International Airport
Albany International Airport is a public use airport located six nautical miles northwest of the central business district of Albany, in Albany County, New York, United States. It is owned by the Albany County Airport Authority....

 is the oldest municipal airport in the United States.

Shoreham Airport
Shoreham Airport
- Sussex Police Air Operations Unit :The Sussex Police Air Operations Unit is headquartered at Shoreham Airport. The unit has been equipped since February 2000 with a MD Explorer, registered as "G-SUSX". The unit is headed by a Police Inspector, assisted by a Police Sergeant and two Police...

 was created near Brighton
Brighton
Brighton is the major part of the city of Brighton and Hove in East Sussex, England on the south coast of Great Britain...

, Sussex
Sussex
Sussex , from the Old English Sūþsēaxe , is an historic county in South East England corresponding roughly in area to the ancient Kingdom of Sussex. It is bounded on the north by Surrey, east by Kent, south by the English Channel, and west by Hampshire, and is divided for local government into West...

, England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 in 1910 and is Britain's oldest municipal airport today.

Bremen Airport
Bremen Airport
Bremen Airport or Flughafen Bremen serves the German city of Bremen and is located south of the city. There were 2.4 million passengers in 2008.-History:The beginnings of the airport date back to the early 20th century...

 opened in 1913 and remains in use, although it served as an American military field between 1945 and 1949. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol opened on September 16, 1916 as a military airfield, but only accepted civil aircraft
Civil aviation
Civil aviation is one of two major categories of flying, representing all non-military aviation, both private and commercial. Most of the countries in the world are members of the International Civil Aviation Organization and work together to establish common standards and recommended practices...

 from December 17, 1920, allowing Sydney Airport
Sydney Airport
Sydney Airport may refer to:* Sydney Airport, also known as Kingsford Smith International Airport, in Sydney, Australia* Sydney/J.A. Douglas McCurdy Airport, in Nova Scotia, Canada...

 in Sydney
Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

, Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

—which started operations in January 1920—to claim to be one of the world's oldest continually operating commercial airports. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport is the largest and busiest airport in the five-state upper Midwest region of Minnesota, Iowa, South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin.-Overview:...

 in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, opened in 1920 and has been in continuous commercial service since. It serves about 35,000,000 passengers each year and continues to expand, recently opening a new 11,000 foot (3,355 meter) runway. Of the airports constructed during this early period in aviation, it is one of the largest and busiest that is still currently operating. Rome Ciampino Airport, opened 1916, is also a contender.
Increased aircraft traffic during World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 led to the construction of landing fields. Aircraft had to approach these from certain directions and this led to the development of aids for directing the approach and landing slope.

Following the war, some of these military airfields added civil facilities for handling passenger traffic. One of the earliest such fields was Paris – Le Bourget Airport
Paris – Le Bourget Airport
Paris – Le Bourget Airport is an airport located in Le Bourget, Bonneuil-en-France, and Dugny, north-northeast of Paris, France. It is now used only for general aviation as well as air shows...

 at Le Bourget
Le Bourget
Le Bourget is a commune in the northeastern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the center of Paris.A very small part of Le Bourget airport lies on the territory of the commune of Le Bourget, which nonetheless gave its name to the airport. Most of the airport lies on the territory of the...

, near Paris
Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

. The first airport to operate scheduled international commercial services was Hounslow Heath Aerodrome
Hounslow Heath Aerodrome
Hounslow Heath Aerodrome was a grass airfield, operational 1914-1920. It was situated in the London borough of Hounslow, and in 1919 was the location from which the first scheduled daily international commercial air services took place.-1909-1914:...

 in August 1919, but it was closed and supplanted by Croydon Airport
Croydon Airport
Croydon Airport was an airport in South London which straddled the boundary between what are now the London boroughs of Croydon and Sutton. It was the main airport for London before it was replaced by Northolt Aerodrome, London Heathrow Airport and London Gatwick Airport...

 in March 1920. In 1922, the first permanent airport and commercial terminal solely for commercial aviation was opened at Flughafen Devau
Kaliningrad Devau Airport
Kaliningrad Devau Airport is located 5 km northeast of Kaliningrad. Today it is a small general aviation airfield and is also used for sports aviation. There are Antonov An-2 aircraft parked on the site....

 near what was then Königsberg, East Prussia
Königsberg
Königsberg was the capital of East Prussia from the Late Middle Ages until 1945 as well as the northernmost and easternmost German city with 286,666 inhabitants . Due to the multicultural society in and around the city, there are several local names for it...

. The airports of this era used a paved "apron", which permitted night flying as well as landing heavier aircraft.

The first lighting used on an airport was during the latter part of the 1920s; in the 1930s approach lighting
Approach Lighting System
An approach lighting system, or ALS, is a lighting system installed on the approach end of an airport runway and consisting of a series of lightbars, strobe lights, or a combination of the two that extends outward from the runway end...

 came into use. These indicated the proper direction and angle of descent. The colours and flash intervals of these lights became standardized under the International Civil Aviation Organization
International Civil Aviation Organization
The International Civil Aviation Organization , pronounced , , is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth...

 (ICAO). In the 1940s, the slope-line approach system was introduced. This consisted of two rows of lights that formed a funnel indicating an aircraft's position on the glideslope
Instrument Landing System
An instrument landing system is a ground-based instrument approach system that provides precision guidance to an aircraft approaching and landing on a runway, using a combination of radio signals and, in many cases, high-intensity lighting arrays to enable a safe landing during instrument...

. Additional lights indicated incorrect altitude and direction.

Following World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, airport design became more sophisticated. Passenger buildings were being grouped together in an island, with runways arranged in groups about the terminal. This arrangement permitted expansion of the facilities. But it also meant that passengers had to travel further to reach their plane.

An improvement in the landing field was the introduction of grooves in the concrete surface. These run perpendicular to the direction of the landing aircraft and serve to draw off excess water in rainy conditions that could build up in front of the plane's wheels.

Airport construction boomed during the 1960s with the increase in jet aircraft
Jet aircraft
A jet aircraft is an aircraft propelled by jet engines. Jet aircraft generally fly much faster than propeller-powered aircraft and at higher altitudes – as high as . At these altitudes, jet engines achieve maximum efficiency over long distances. The engines in propeller-powered aircraft...

 traffic. Runways were extended out to 3000 m (9,842.5 ft). The fields were constructed out of reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete
Reinforced concrete is concrete in which reinforcement bars , reinforcement grids, plates or fibers have been incorporated to strengthen the concrete in tension. It was invented by French gardener Joseph Monier in 1849 and patented in 1867. The term Ferro Concrete refers only to concrete that is...

 using a slip-form machine that produces a continual slab with no disruptions along the length. The early 1960s also saw the introduction of jet bridge systems to modern airport terminals, an innovation which eliminated outdoor passenger boarding. These systems became commonplace in the United States by the 1970s.

Modern runways are thickest in the area where aircraft move slowly and are expected to have maximum load, i.e. runway ends. A common myth is that airplanes produce their greatest load during landing due to the "impact" of landing. This is untrue as much of the aircraft weight remains on the wings due to lift. Runways are constructed as smooth and level as possible.

Airport designation and naming


Airports are uniquely represented by their International Air Transport Association airport code and ICAO airport code
International Civil Aviation Organization airport code
The ICAO airport code or location indicator is a four-character alphanumeric code designating each airport around the world. These codes are defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization, and published in ICAO Document 7910: Location Indicators.The ICAO codes are used by air traffic...

. An International Air Transport Association
International Air Transport Association
The International Air Transport Association is an international industry trade group of airlines headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, where the International Civil Aviation Organization is also headquartered. The executive offices are at the Geneva Airport in SwitzerlandIATA's mission is to...

 (IATA) airport code
Airport code
An airport code is a short code used to identify a specific airport. There are two international systems used:*IATA airport code, a three-letter code which is more commonly known to the public...

 is often an abbreviation of the airport's common name, particularly older ones, such as PHL for Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport is a major airport in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, and is the largest airport in the Delaware Valley region and in Pennsylvania...

. An airport sometimes retains its previous IATA code when its name, or even when its location is changed. Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport
Hong Kong International Airport is the main airport in Hong Kong. It is colloquially known as Chek Lap Kok Airport , being built on the island of Chek Lap Kok by land reclamation, and also to distinguish it from its predecessor, the closed Kai Tak Airport.The airport opened for commercial...

 retained both its name and its IATA code when moved from Kai Tak
Kai Tak Airport
Kai Tak Airport was the international airport of Hong Kong from 1925 until 1998. It was officially known as the Hong Kong International Airport from 1954 to 6 July 1998, when it was closed and replaced by the new Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, 30 km to the west...

 to Chek Lap Kok
Chek Lap Kok
Chek Lap Kok was an island in the western waters of Hong Kong. Together with the smaller Lam Chau, it was leveled and merged via land reclamation into the platform for the current Hong Kong International Airport, which opened for commercial operations in 1998...

 in 1998.

The name of the airport itself can be its location, such as San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport
San Francisco International Airport is a major international airport located south of downtown San Francisco, California, United States, near the cities of Millbrae and San Bruno in unincorporated San Mateo County. It is often referred to as SFO...

. It can be named after some public figure
Public figure
Public figure is a legal term applied in the context of defamation actions as well as invasion of privacy. A public figure cannot base a lawsuit on incorrect harmful statements unless there is proof that the writer or publisher acted with actual malice...

, commonly a politician
Politician
A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

, e.g. Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport, or a person associated with the region it serves or prominent figures in aviation history, such as Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport
San Jose International Airport
Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport is a city-owned public-use airport serving the city of San Jose in Santa Clara County, California, United States. It is named for San Jose native Norman Yoshio Mineta, who was Transportation Secretary in the Cabinet of George W...

, Will Rogers World Airport
Will Rogers World Airport
Will Rogers World Airport , also known as Will Rogers Airport or simply Will Rogers, is located in southwestern Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 6 miles from downtown and is the principal commercial airport of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area...

, John Wayne International Airport, Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Liverpool John Lennon Airport
Liverpool John Lennon Airport is an international airport serving the city of Liverpool and the North West of England. Formerly known as Speke Airport, RAF Speke, and Liverpool Airport the airport is located within the City of Liverpool adjacent to the estuary of the River Mersey some southeast...

, Rio de Janeiro-Galeão International Airport, Jorge Chavez International Airport
Jorge Chávez International Airport
Jorge Chávez International Airport , known as Aeropuerto Internacional Jorge Chávez in Spanish, is Peru's main international and domestic airport. It is located in Callao, 11 kilometers from the Historic Centre of Lima and 17 km from Miraflores. Callao is the port city now fully...

, Tehran Imam Khomeini International Airport, or more recently, Belfast City Airport was renamed George Best Belfast City Airport
George Best Belfast City Airport
George Best Belfast City Airport is a single-runway airport in Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Situated adjacent to the Port of Belfast it is from Belfast City Centre. It shares the site with the Short Brothers/Bombardier aircraft manufacturing facility...

 in memory of the football star born in Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

.

Some airports have unofficial names, possibly so widely circulated that its official name is little used or even known.

Airport names may include the word "International", reflecting their ability to handle international aviation traffic, although the airport may not actually operate any such flights; an example is Texel International Airport
Texel International Airport
Texel International Airport is a small airport located north northeast of Den Burg on the island of Texel in the north of the Netherlands. It has a customs service to handle international flights making it an international airport, though no scheduled international flights take place from the...

. Some airports with international immigration facilities may also choose to drop the word from their airport names (e.g. Perth Airport
Perth Airport
Perth Airport is an Australian domestic and international airport serving Perth, the capital and largest city of Western Australia. The airport itself is located in the suburb of Perth Airport....

, Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport
Singapore Changi Airport , Changi International Airport, or simply Changi Airport, is the main airport in Singapore. A major aviation hub in Southeast Asia, it is about north-east from the commercial centre in Changi, on a site....

).

Low cost airports


In the early years of the 21st century, low cost terminals, or even entire airports have been built to cater for discount airlines
Low-cost carrier
A low-cost carrier or low-cost airline is an airline that generally has lower fares and fewer comforts...

 such as Ryanair
Ryanair
Ryanair is an Irish low-cost airline. Its head office is at Dublin Airport and its primary operational bases at Dublin Airport and London Stansted Airport....

.

Airport security




Airport security normally requires baggage checks, metal screenings of individual persons, and rules against any object that could be used as a weapon. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, airport security has been dramatically increased.

Air traffic control


The majority of the world's airports are non-towered
Non-towered airport
A non-towered airport, sometimes referred to as an uncontrolled airport, is an airport with no operating tower, or air traffic control unit...

, with no air traffic control
Air traffic control
Air traffic control is a service provided by ground-based controllers who direct aircraft on the ground and in the air. The primary purpose of ATC systems worldwide is to separate aircraft to prevent collisions, to organize and expedite the flow of traffic, and to provide information and other...

 presence. However, at particularly busy airports, or airports with other special requirements, there is an air traffic control (ATC) system whereby controllers
Air traffic controller
Air traffic controllers are the people who expedite and maintain a safe and orderly flow of air traffic in the global air traffic control system. The position of the air traffic controller is one that requires highly specialized skills...

 (usually ground-based) direct aircraft movements via radio
Radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 or other communications links. This coordinated oversight facilitates safety and speed in complex operations where traffic moves in all three dimensions. Air traffic control responsibilities at airports are usually divided into at least two main areas: ground and tower, though a single controller may work both stations. The busiest airports also have clearance delivery, apron control, and other specialized ATC stations.

Ground Control is responsible for directing all ground traffic in designated "movement areas", except the traffic on runways. This includes planes, baggage trains, snowplow
Snowplow
A snowplow is a device intended for mounting on a vehicle, used for removing snow and ice from outdoor surfaces, typically those serving transportation purposes...

s, grass cutters, fuel trucks, and a wide array of other vehicles. Ground Control will instruct these vehicles on which taxiways to use, which runway they will use (in the case of planes), where they will park, and when it is safe to cross runways. When a plane is ready to takeoff it will stop short of the runway, at which point it will be turned over to Tower Control. After a plane has landed, it will depart the runway and be returned to Ground Control.

Tower
Control tower
A control tower, or more specifically an Air Traffic Control Tower , is the name of the airport building from which the air traffic control unit controls the movement of aircraft on and around the airport. Control towers are also used to control the traffic for other forms of transportation such...

 Control controls aircraft on the runway and in the controlled airspace
Controlled airspace
Controlled airspace is an aviation term used to describe airspace in which ATChas the authority to control air traffic, the level of which varies with the different classes of airspace. Controlled airspace is established mainly for three different reasons:...

 immediately surrounding the airport. Tower controllers may use radar
Radar
Radar is an object-detection system which uses radio waves to determine the range, altitude, direction, or speed of objects. It can be used to detect aircraft, ships, spacecraft, guided missiles, motor vehicles, weather formations, and terrain. The radar dish or antenna transmits pulses of radio...

 to locate an aircraft's position in three-dimensional space, or they may rely on pilot position reports and visual observation. They coordinate the sequencing of aircraft in the traffic pattern and direct aircraft on how to safely join and leave the circuit. Aircraft which are only passing through the airspace must also contact Tower Control in order to be sure that they remain clear of other traffic.

Traffic pattern


All airports use a traffic pattern
Airfield traffic pattern
An airfield traffic pattern is a standard path followed by aircraft when taking off or landing, while maintaining visual contact with the airfield....

 (often called a traffic circuit outside the U.S.) to assure smooth traffic flow between departing and arriving aircraft. Generally, this pattern is a circuit consisting of five "legs" that form a rectangle (two legs and the runway form one side, with the remaining legs forming three more sides). Each leg is named (see diagram), and ATC directs pilots on how to join and leave the circuit. Traffic patterns are flown at one specific altitude, usually 800 or above ground level
Above ground level
In aviation and atmospheric sciences, an altitude is said to be above ground level when it is measured with respect to the underlying ground surface. This is as opposed to above mean sea level , or in broadcast engineering, height above average terrain...

 (AGL). Standard traffic patterns are left-handed, meaning all turns are made to the left. Right-handed patterns do exist, usually because of obstacles such as a mountain
Mountain
Image:Himalaya_annotated.jpg|thumb|right|The Himalayan mountain range with Mount Everestrect 58 14 160 49 Chomo Lonzorect 200 28 335 52 Makalurect 378 24 566 45 Mount Everestrect 188 581 920 656 Tibetan Plateaurect 250 406 340 427 Rong River...

, or to reduce noise for local residents. The predetermined circuit helps traffic flow smoothly because all pilots know what to expect, and helps reduce the chance of a mid-air collision
Mid-air collision
A mid-air collision is an aviation accident in which two or more aircraft come into contact during flight. Owing to the relatively high velocities involved and any subsequent impact on the ground or sea, very severe damage or the total destruction of at least one of the aircraft involved usually...

.

At extremely large airports, a circuit is in place but not usually used. Rather, aircraft (usually only commercial with long routes) request approach clearance while they are still hours away from the airport, often before they even takeoff from their departure point. Large airports have a frequency called Clearance Delivery which is used by departing aircraft specifically for this purpose. This then allows airplanes to take the most direct approach path to the runway and land without worrying about interference from other aircraft. While this system keeps the airspace free and is simpler for pilots, it requires detailed knowledge of how aircraft are planning to use the airport ahead of time and is therefore only possible with large commercial airliners on pre-scheduled flights. The system has recently become so advanced that controllers can predict whether an aircraft will be delayed on landing before it even takes off; that aircraft can then be delayed on the ground, rather than wasting expensive fuel waiting in the air.

Navigational aids



There are a number of aids available to pilots, though not all airports are equipped with them. A Visual Approach Slope Indicator
Visual Approach Slope Indicator
The visual approach slope indicator is a system of lights on the side of an airport runway threshold that provides visual descent guidance information during the approach to a runway...

 (VASI) helps pilots fly the approach for landing. Some airports are equipped with a VHF omnidirectional range
VHF omnidirectional range
VOR, short for VHF omnidirectional radio range, is a type of radio navigation system for aircraft. A VOR ground station broadcasts a VHF radio composite signal including the station's identifier, voice , and navigation signal. The identifier is typically a two- or three-letter string in Morse code...

 (VOR) to help pilots find the direction to the airport. VORs are often accompanied by a distance measuring equipment
Distance Measuring Equipment
Distance measuring equipment is a transponder-based radio navigation technology that measures distance by timing the propagation delay of VHF or UHF radio signals....

 (DME) to determine the distance to the VOR. VORs are also located off airports, where they serve to provide airways for aircraft to navigate upon. In poor weather, pilots will use an instrument landing system (ILS) to find the runway and fly the correct approach, even if they cannot see the ground. The number of instrument approaches based on the use of the Global Positioning System
Global Positioning System
The Global Positioning System is a space-based global navigation satellite system that provides location and time information in all weather, anywhere on or near the Earth, where there is an unobstructed line of sight to four or more GPS satellites...

 (GPS) is rapidly increasing and may eventually be the primary means for instrument landings.

Larger airports sometimes offer precision approach radar
Precision Approach Radar
Precision approach radar is a type of radar guidance system designed to provide lateral and vertical guidance to an aircraft pilot for landing, until the landing threshold is reached. After the aircraft reaches the decision height or decision altitude , guidance is advisory only...

 (PAR), but these systems are more common at military air bases than civilian airports. The aircraft's horizontal and vertical movement is tracked via radar, and the controller tells the pilot his position relative to the approach slope
Final approach (aviation)
A final approach is the last leg in an aircraft's approach to landing. In aviation radio terminology, it is often shortened to "final".In a standard airport landing pattern, which is usually used under visual meteorological conditions , aircraft turn from base leg to final within one to two miles...

. Once the pilots can see the runway lights, they may continue with a visual landing.

Guidance signs



Airport guidance signs provide direction and information to taxiing aircraft and airport vehicles. Smaller airports may have few or no signs, relying instead on airport diagrams and charts.

There are two classes of signage
Signage
Signage is any kind of visual graphics created to display information to a particular audience. This is typically manifested in the form of wayfinding information in places such as streets or inside/outside of buildings.-History:...

 at airports, with several types of each:

Operational guidance signs



  • Location signs – yellow on black background. Identifies the runway or taxiway currently on or entering.
  • Direction/Runway Exit signs – black on yellow. Identifies the intersecting taxiways the aircraft is approaching, with an arrow indicating the direction to turn.
  • Other – many airports use conventional traffic sign
    Traffic sign
    Traffic signs or road signs are signs erected at the side of roads to provide information to road users. With traffic volumes increasing over the last eight decades, many countries have adopted pictorial signs or otherwise simplified and standardized their signs to facilitate international travel...

    s such as stop
    Stop sign
    A Stop sign is a traffic sign to notify drivers that they must stop before proceeding.-Specifications:The Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals proposed standard stop sign diameters of 0.6, 0.9 or 1.2 metres. UK and New Zealand stop signs are 750, 900 or 1200 mm, according to sign...

     and yield
    Yield sign
    In road transport, a ' or ' traffic sign indicates that each driver must prepare to stop if necessary to let a driver on another approach proceed. A driver who stops has yielded the right of way to another...

     signs throughout the airport.

Mandatory instruction signs



Mandatory instruction signs are white on red. They show entrances to runways or critical areas. Vehicles and aircraft are required to stop at these signs until the control tower gives clearance to proceed.
  • Runway signs – White text on a red background. These signs simply identify a runway intersection ahead.
  • Frequency Change signs – Usually a stop sign and an instruction to change to another frequency. These signs are used at airports with different areas of ground control.
  • Holding Position signs – A single solid yellow bar across a taxiway indicates a position where ground control may require a stop. If two solid yellow bars and two dashed yellow bars are encountered, this indicates a holding position for a runway intersection ahead; runway holding lines must never be crossed without permission. At some airports, a line of red lights across a taxiway is used during low visibility operations to indicate holding positions. An "interrupted ladder" type marking with an "ILS" sign in white on red indicates a holding position before an ILS critical area.

Lighting



Many airports have lighting that help guide planes using the runways and taxiways at night or in rain or fog
Fog
Fog is a collection of water droplets or ice crystals suspended in the air at or near the Earth's surface. While fog is a type of stratus cloud, the term "fog" is typically distinguished from the more generic term "cloud" in that fog is low-lying, and the moisture in the fog is often generated...

.

On runways, green lights indicate the beginning of the runway for landing, while red lights indicate the end of the runway. Runway edge lighting
Runway Edge Lights
Runway Edge Lights are used to outline the edges of runways during periods of darkness or restricted visibility conditions. These light systems are classified according to the intensity they are capable of producing:...

 consists of white lights spaced out on both sides of the runway, indicating the edge. Some airports have more complicated lighting on the runways including lights that run down the centerline of the runway and lights that help indicate the approach (an Approach Lighting System
Approach Lighting System
An approach lighting system, or ALS, is a lighting system installed on the approach end of an airport runway and consisting of a series of lightbars, strobe lights, or a combination of the two that extends outward from the runway end...

, or ALS). Low-traffic airports may use Pilot Controlled Lighting
Pilot Controlled Lighting
Pilot Controlled Lighting , also known as Aircraft Radio Control of Aerodrome Lighting or Pilot Activated Lighting , is a system which allows aircraft pilots to control the lighting of an airport or airfield's approach lights, runway edge lights, and taxiways via radio. At some airfields, the...

 to save electricity and staffing costs.

Along taxiways, blue lights indicate the taxiway's edge, and some airports have embedded green lights that indicate the centerline.
  • Obstruction Lighting
    Aircraft warning lights
    Aircraft warning lights are high-intensity lighting devices that are attached to tall structures and are used as collision avoidance measures. Such devices make structures more visible to passing aircraft and are usually used at night, although they may be used during the day as well...

    • Used to mark hazards
    • Gives pilots a visual aid (usually creates a lane)
    • Meant to be visible to pilots and not a disturbance to people on ground

Weather observations



Weather observations at the airport are crucial to safe takeoffs and landings. In the US and Canada, the vast majority of airports, large and small, will either have some form of automated airport weather station
Automated airport weather station
Automated airport weather stations are automated sensor suites which are designed to serve aviation and meteorological observing needs for safe and efficient aviation operations and weather forecasting...

, whether an AWOS, ASOS, or AWSS, a human observer or a combination of the two. These weather observations, predominantly in the METAR
METAR
METAR is a format for reporting weather information. A METAR weather report is predominantly used by pilots in fulfillment of a part of a pre-flight weather briefing, and by meteorologists, who use aggregated METAR information to assist in weather forecasting....

 format, are available over the radio, through Automatic Terminal Information Service
Automatic Terminal Information Service
Automatic Terminal Information Service, or ATIS, is a continuous broadcast of recorded noncontrol information in busier terminal areas. ATIS broadcasts contain essential information, such as weather information, which runways are active, available approaches, and any other information required by...

 (ATIS), via the ATC or the Flight Service Station
Flight service station
A Flight Service Station is an air traffic facility that provides information and services to aircraft pilots before, during, and after flights, but unlike air traffic control , is not responsible for giving instructions or clearances or providing separation...

.

Planes take-off and land into the wind in order to achieve maximum performance. Because pilots need instantaneous information during landing, a windsock
Windsock
A windsock is a conical textile tube designed to indicate wind direction and relative wind speed. Windsocks typically are used at airports and at chemical plants where there is risk of gaseous leakage...

 is also kept in view of the runway.

Safety management


Air safety
Air safety
Air safety is a term encompassing the theory, investigation and categorization of flight failures, and the prevention of such failures through regulation, education and training. It can also be applied in the context of campaigns that inform the public as to the safety of air travel.-United...

 is an important concern in the operation of an airport, and almost every airfield includes equipment and procedures for handling emergency situations. Commercial airfields include one or more emergency vehicle
Emergency vehicle
An emergency vehicle is any vehicle that is designated and authorized to respond to an emergency. These vehicles are usually operated by designated agencies, often part of the government, but also run by charities, non-governmental organizations and some commercial companies...

s and their crew that are specially equipped for dealing with airfield accident
Accident
An accident or mishap is an unforeseen and unplanned event or circumstance, often with lack of intention or necessity. It implies a generally negative outcome which may have been avoided or prevented had circumstances leading up to the accident been recognized, and acted upon, prior to its...

s, crew and passenger extractions, and the hazards of highly flammable aviation fuel
Aviation fuel
Aviation fuel is a specialized type of petroleum-based fuel used to power aircraft. It is generally of a higher quality than fuels used in less critical applications, such as heating or road transport, and often contains additives to reduce the risk of icing or explosion due to high temperatures,...

. The crews are also trained to deal with situations such as bomb threat
Bomb threat
A bomb threat is generally defined as a threat, usually verbal or written, to detonate an explosive or incendiary device to cause property damage, death, or injuries, whether or not such a device actually exists...

s, hijacking
Aircraft hijacking
Aircraft hijacking is the unlawful seizure of an aircraft by an individual or a group. In most cases, the pilot is forced to fly according to the orders of the hijackers. Occasionally, however, the hijackers have flown the aircraft themselves, such as the September 11 attacks of 2001...

, and terrorist
Terrorism
Terrorism is the systematic use of terror, especially as a means of coercion. In the international community, however, terrorism has no universally agreed, legally binding, criminal law definition...

 activities.

Hazards to aircraft include debris, nesting bird
Bird
Birds are feathered, winged, bipedal, endothermic , egg-laying, vertebrate animals. Around 10,000 living species and 188 families makes them the most speciose class of tetrapod vertebrates. They inhabit ecosystems across the globe, from the Arctic to the Antarctic. Extant birds range in size from...

s, and reduced friction levels due to environmental conditions such as ice
Ice
Ice is water frozen into the solid state. Usually ice is the phase known as ice Ih, which is the most abundant of the varying solid phases on the Earth's surface. It can appear transparent or opaque bluish-white color, depending on the presence of impurities or air inclusions...

, snow
Snow
Snow is a form of precipitation within the Earth's atmosphere in the form of crystalline water ice, consisting of a multitude of snowflakes that fall from clouds. Since snow is composed of small ice particles, it is a granular material. It has an open and therefore soft structure, unless packed by...

, or rain
Rain
Rain is liquid precipitation, as opposed to non-liquid kinds of precipitation such as snow, hail and sleet. Rain requires the presence of a thick layer of the atmosphere to have temperatures above the melting point of water near and above the Earth's surface...

. Part of runway maintenance is airfield rubber removal
Airfield rubber removal
Airfield rubber removal, also known as runway rubber removal, is the use of high pressure water, abrasives, chemicals and/or other mechanical means to remove the rubber that builds up on airport landing strips...

 which helps maintain friction levels. The fields must be kept clear of debris using cleaning equipment so that loose material does not become a projectile and enter an engine duct (see foreign object damage
Foreign object damage
Foreign Object Debris is a substance, debris or article alien to a vehicle or system which would potentially cause damage.Foreign Object Damage is any damage attributed to a foreign object that can be expressed in physical or economic terms that may or may not degrade the product's required...

). In adverse weather conditions, ice and snow clearing equipment can be used to improve traction on the landing strip. For waiting aircraft, equipment is used to spray special deicing
Deicing
For snow and ice control on roadways and similar facilities, see Snow removalDe-icing is defined as removal of snow, ice or frost from a surface...

 fluids on the wings.

Many airports are built near open fields or wetland
Wetland
A wetland is an area of land whose soil is saturated with water either permanently or seasonally. Wetlands are categorised by their characteristic vegetation, which is adapted to these unique soil conditions....

s. These tend to attract bird populations, which can pose a hazard to aircraft in the form of bird strike
Bird strike
A bird strike—sometimes called birdstrike, avian ingestion , bird hit, or BASH —is a collision between an airborne animal and a man-made vehicle, especially aircraft...

s. Airport crews often need to discourage birds from taking up residence.

Some airports are located next to parks, golf courses, or other low-density uses of land. Other airports are located near densely-populated urban or suburban areas. In the 1980s, a conflict arose in San Jose, California
San Jose, California
San Jose is the third-largest city in California, the tenth-largest in the U.S., and the county seat of Santa Clara County which is located at the southern end of San Francisco Bay...

, when a plane attempting to land at Reid-Hillview Airport (built in the 1930s) collided with a Macy's
Macy's
Macy's is a U.S. chain of mid-to-high range department stores. In addition to its flagship Herald Square location in New York City, the company operates over 800 stores in the United States...

 department store
Department store
A department store is a retail establishment which satisfies a wide range of the consumer's personal and residential durable goods product needs; and at the same time offering the consumer a choice of multiple merchandise lines, at variable price points, in all product categories...

 at the Eastridge Center
Eastridge Center
Eastridge Center is a shopping mall in eastern San Jose, California owned by General Growth Properties. The mall has an enclosed shopping area, restaurants and theaters...

. Many local residents tried to get the airport shut down, even though it had been there for fifty years: their neighborhoods (and the mall) were about a decade old.

An airport can have areas where collisions between airplanes on the ground tend to occur. Records are kept of any incursions
Runway incursion
A runway incursion is an incident where an unauthorized aircraft, vehicle or person is on a runway. This adversely affects runway safety, as it creates the risk that an airplane taking off or landing will collide with the object...

 where airplanes or vehicles are in an inappropriate location, allowing these "hot spots" to be identified. These locations then undergo special attention by transportation authorities (such as the FAA in the US) and airport administrators.

During the 1980s, a phenomenon known as microburst
Microburst
A microburst is a very localized column of sinking air, producing damaging divergent and straight-line winds at the surface that are similar to, but distinguishable from, tornadoes, which generally have convergent damage. There are two types of microbursts: wet microbursts and dry microbursts...

 became a growing concern due to aircraft accident
Aviation accidents and incidents
An aviation accident is defined in the Convention on International Civil Aviation Annex 13 as an occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight and all such persons have disembarked, in which a...

s caused by microburst wind shear
Wind shear
Wind shear, sometimes referred to as windshear or wind gradient, is a difference in wind speed and direction over a relatively short distance in the atmosphere...

, such as Delta Air Lines Flight 191
Delta Air Lines Flight 191
Delta Air Lines Flight 191 was an airline service from Fort Lauderdale, Florida's Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport, bound for Los Angeles International Airport in Los Angeles, California, by way of Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport...

. Microburst radar was developed as an aid to safety during landing, giving two to five minutes warning to aircraft in the vicinity of the field of a microburst event.

Some airfields now have a special surface known as soft concrete at the end of the runway (stopway or blastpad) that behaves somewhat like styrofoam
Styrofoam
Styrofoam is a trademark of The Dow Chemical Company for closed-cell currently made for thermal insulation and craft applications. In 1941, researchers in Dow's Chemical Physics Lab found a way to make foamed polystyrene...

, bringing the plane to a relatively rapid halt as the material disintegrates. These surfaces are useful when the runway is located next to a body of water or other hazard, and prevent the planes from overrunning the end of the field.

Airport ground crew




Most airports have groundcrew
Groundcrew
In aviation, the groundcrew is the support crew supplying the aircraft with fuel and maintenance, as opposed to the aircrew.In airlines, ground crew members include:*Airframe and powerplant technicians*Avionics technicians*Baggage handlers*Rampers...

 handling the loading and unloading of passengers, crew, baggage and other services. Some groundcrew are linked to specific airlines operating at the airport.

Environmental concerns


Aircraft noise
Aircraft noise
Aircraft noise is noise pollution produced by any aircraft or its components, during various phases of a flight: on the ground while parked such as auxiliary power units, while taxiing, on run-up from propeller and jet exhaust, during take off, underneath and lateral to departure and arrival paths,...

 is major cause of noise disturbance
Noise pollution
Noise pollution is excessive, displeasing human, animal or machine-created environmental noise that disrupts the activity or balance of human or animal life...

 to residents living near airports. Sleep can be affected if the airports operate night and early morning flights. Aircraft noise not only occurs from take-off and landings, but also ground operations including maintenance and testing of aircraft. Noise can have other noise health effects. Other noise and environmental concerns are vehicle traffic causing noise and pollution on roads leading the airport.

The construction of new airports or addition of runways to existing airports, is often resisted by local residents because of the effect on countryside, historical sites, local flora
Flora
Flora is the plant life occurring in a particular region or time, generally the naturally occurring or indigenous—native plant life. The corresponding term for animals is fauna.-Etymology:...

 and fauna
Fauna
Fauna or faunæ is all of the animal life of any particular region or time. The corresponding term for plants is flora.Zoologists and paleontologists use fauna to refer to a typical collection of animals found in a specific time or place, e.g. the "Sonoran Desert fauna" or the "Burgess shale fauna"...

. Due to the risk of collision between birds and airplanes, large airports undertake population control programs where they frighten or shoot birds.

The construction of airports has been known to change local weather
Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, to the degree that it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloudy. Most weather phenomena occur in the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers, generally, to day-to-day temperature and precipitation activity, whereas climate...

 patterns. For example, because they often flatten out large areas, they can be susceptible to fog in areas where fog rarely forms. In addition, they generally replace tree
Tree
A tree is a perennial woody plant. It is most often defined as a woody plant that has many secondary branches supported clear of the ground on a single main stem or trunk with clear apical dominance. A minimum height specification at maturity is cited by some authors, varying from 3 m to...

s and grass with pavement, they often change drainage
Drainage
Drainage is the natural or artificial removal of surface and sub-surface water from an area. Many agricultural soils need drainage to improve production or to manage water supplies.-Early history:...

 patterns in agricultural
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

 areas, leading to more flood
Flood
A flood is an overflow of an expanse of water that submerges land. The EU Floods directive defines a flood as a temporary covering by water of land not normally covered by water...

ing, run-off and erosion
Erosion
Erosion is when materials are removed from the surface and changed into something else. It only works by hydraulic actions and transport of solids in the natural environment, and leads to the deposition of these materials elsewhere...

 in the surrounding land.

Some of the airport administrations prepare and publish annual environmental
Environmentalism
Environmentalism is a broad philosophy, ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental conservation and improvement of the health of the environment, particularly as the measure for this health seeks to incorporate the concerns of non-human elements...

 reports in order to show how they consider these environmental concerns in airport management issues and how they protect environment from airport operations. These reports contain all environmental protection
Environmental protection
Environmental protection is a practice of protecting the environment, on individual, organizational or governmental level, for the benefit of the natural environment and humans. Due to the pressures of population and our technology the biophysical environment is being degraded, sometimes permanently...

 measures performed by airport administration in terms of water, air, soil and noise pollution, resource conservation and protection of natural life around the airport.

Military airbase


An airbase, sometimes referred to as a military airport or airfield, provides basing and support of military aircraft
Military aircraft
A military aircraft is any fixed-wing or rotary-wing aircraft that is operated by a legal or insurrectionary armed service of any type. Military aircraft can be either combat or non-combat:...

. Some airbases provide facilities similar to their civilian counterparts. For example, RAF Brize Norton
RAF Brize Norton
RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, about west north-west of London, is the largest station of the Royal Air Force. It is close to the settlements of Brize Norton, Carterton and Witney....

 in Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire
Oxfordshire is a county in the South East region of England, bordering on Warwickshire and Northamptonshire , Buckinghamshire , Berkshire , Wiltshire and Gloucestershire ....

, England has a terminal which caters to passengers for the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

's scheduled Tristar
Lockheed L-1011
The Lockheed L-1011 TriStar, commonly referred to as the L-1011 or TriStar, is a medium-to-long range, widebody passenger trijet airliner. It was the third widebody airliner to enter commercial operations, following the Boeing 747 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-10. Between 1968 and 1984, Lockheed...

 flights to the Falkland Islands
Falkland Islands
The Falkland Islands are an archipelago in the South Atlantic Ocean, located about from the coast of mainland South America. The archipelago consists of East Falkland, West Falkland and 776 lesser islands. The capital, Stanley, is on East Falkland...

. Military airbases may also be co-located with civilian airports, sharing the same tower/air traffic control facilities, runways, taxiways and emergency services, but with separate terminals, parking areas, hangars and shelter areas
Hardened Aircraft Shelter
Hardened Aircraft Shelters , or Protective Aircraft Shelter , are a reinforced structure to house and protect military aircraft from enemy attack...

. Examples of this are Bardufoss Airport
Bardufoss Airport
Bardufoss Airport is situated at Bardufoss in the municipality of Målselv in Troms, North Norway. The airport is primarily military, but also serves a few civilian flights...

/Bardufoss Air Station
Bardufoss Air Station
Bardufoss Air Station is located in the municipality of Målselv in Troms county in Northern Norway. It is the location for the 139th Air Wing and two helicopter squadrons; the 337 Squadron operating Lynx MK 86 for the Norwegian Coast Guard and the 339 Squadron equipped with Bell 412SPs...

 and Gardermoen Airport
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen
Oslo Airport, Gardermoen is the principal airport serving Oslo, Norway. It acts as the main domestic hub and international airport for Norway, and the second-busiest airport in the Nordic countries. A hub for Scandinavian Airlines and Norwegian Air Shuttle, and a focus city for Widerøe, it is...

/Gardermoen Air Station
Gardermoen Air Station
Gardermoen Air Station is located about 50 km north of Oslo, Norway. It is the location for the 135th Airwing and the 335th Squadron of the Royal Norwegian Air Force, which currently operates two of the four recently procured C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft...

, both in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

. A special variant of a military airfield is the aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

.

Aircraft carriers



The aircraft carrier is a warship
Warship
A warship is a ship that is built and primarily intended for combat. Warships are usually built in a completely different way from merchant ships. As well as being armed, warships are designed to withstand damage and are usually faster and more maneuvrable than merchant ships...

 that functions as a floating airport for military aircraft. Aircraft carriers allow a naval force
Navy
A navy is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake- or ocean-borne combat operations and related functions...

 to project air power
Aerial warfare
Aerial warfare is the use of military aircraft and other flying machines in warfare, including military airlift of cargo to further the national interests as was demonstrated in the Berlin Airlift...

 great distances without having to depend on local bases for land-based aircraft. After their development in World War I, aircraft carriers replaced the battleship
Battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

 as the centrepiece of a modern fleet
Naval fleet
A fleet, or naval fleet, is a large formation of warships, and the largest formation in any navy. A fleet at sea is the direct equivalent of an army on land....

 during World War II. Unescorted carriers are considered vulnerable to missile
Missile
Though a missile may be any thrown or launched object, it colloquially almost always refers to a self-propelled guided weapon system.-Etymology:The word missile comes from the Latin verb mittere, meaning "to send"...

 or submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 attacks and therefore travel as part of a carrier battle group
Carrier battle group
A carrier battle group consists of an aircraft carrier and its escorts, together composing the group. The first naval task forces built around carriers appeared just prior to and during World War II. The Imperial Japanese Navy was the first to assemble a large number of carriers into a single...

that includes a wide array of other ships with specific functions.

Airports in entertainment



Airports have played major roles in film
Film
A film, also called a movie or motion picture, is a series of still or moving images. It is produced by recording photographic images with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or visual effects...

s and television program
Television program
A television program , also called television show, is a segment of content which is intended to be broadcast on television. It may be a one-time production or part of a periodically recurring series...

s due to its very nature as a transport and international hub, and sometimes because of distinctive architectural features of particular airports. One such example of this is The Terminal
The Terminal
The Terminal is a 2004 American comedy-drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks and Catherine Zeta-Jones. It is about a man trapped in a terminal at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport when he is denied entry into the United States and at the same time cannot...

, a film about a man who becomes permanently grounded in an airport terminal and must survive only on the food and shelter provided by the airport. They are also one of the major elements in movies such as The V.I.P.s
The V.I.P.s
The V.I.P.s, also known as Hotel International, is a 1963 British drama film. It was directed by Anthony Asquith, produced by Anatole de Grunwald and distributed by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer...

, Airplane!
Airplane!
Airplane! is a 1980 American satirical comedy film directed and written by David Zucker, Jim Abrahams, and Jerry Zucker and released by Paramount Pictures...

, Airport, Die Hard 2
Die Hard 2
Die Hard 2 is a 1990 action film and the second in the Die Hard film series. The film was directed by Renny Harlin, and stars Bruce Willis as John McClane...

, Soul Plane
Soul Plane
Soul Plane is a 2004 comedy film starring Kevin Hart, Method Man, Tom Arnold, D.L. Hughley, Mo'Nique, Loni Love, K.D. Aubert, Godfrey, and Snoop Dogg.-Plot:...

, Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown (film)
Jackie Brown is a 1997 American crime drama film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. It is an adaptation of the novel Rum Punch by American novelist Elmore Leonard and pays homage to 1970s blaxploitation films....

, Get Shorty
Get Shorty (film)
Get Shorty is a 1995 crime-comedy film based on Elmore Leonard's novel of the same name. Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld and starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, and Danny DeVito, the plot remained true to the book except for a few minor details....

, Home Alone
Home Alone
Home Alone is a 1990 American Christmas comedy film written and produced by John Hughes and directed by Chris Columbus. The film stars Macaulay Culkin as Kevin McCallister, an eight-year-old boy, who is mistakenly left behind when his family flies to Paris for their Christmas vacation...

, Liar Liar
Liar Liar
Liar Liar is a 1997 American comedy film written by Paul Guay and Stephen Mazur, directed by Tom Shadyac and starring Jim Carrey. Carrey was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical...

, Passenger 57
Passenger 57
Passenger 57 is a 1992 American action film starring Wesley Snipes and Bruce Payne. The film's success made Snipes a popular action hero icon.-Plot:...

, Final Destination
Final Destination
Final Destination is a 2000 supernatural slasher film written and directed by James Wong. The film was co-written by Glen Morgan and Jeffrey Reddick, both of them having previously worked with Wong in the TV series The X-Files. The film stars Devon Sawa, Ali Larter, Kerr Smith and Tony Todd...

, Unaccompanied Minors
Unaccompanied Minors
Unaccompanied Minors is a 2006 comedy film directed by Paul Feig and starring Dyllan Christopher, Lewis Black, Wilmer Valderrama, Tyler James Williams, Brett Kelly, Gina Mantegna, and Quinn Shephard. Unaccompanied Minors has been rated PG by the MPAA for "mild rude humor and language"...

, Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 American biographical comedy-drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr., who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a Georgia doctor, and a Louisiana parish prosecutor...

, Rendition
Rendition (film)
Rendition is a 2007 drama film directed by Gavin Hood and starring Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Peter Sarsgaard, Alan Arkin, Jake Gyllenhaal and Omar Metwally. It centers on the controversial CIA practice of extraordinary rendition, and is based on the true story of Khalid El-Masri who was...

and The Langoliers
The Langoliers (TV miniseries)
The Langoliers is a miniseries consisting of 2 episodes of 2 hours each . It was directed and written by Tom Holland and based on the novella by Stephen King. The series was produced by Mitchell Galin and David R. Kappes...

. They have also played important parts in television series like Lost
Lost (TV series)
Lost is an American television series that originally aired on ABC from September 22, 2004 to May 23, 2010, consisting of six seasons. Lost is a drama series that follows the survivors of the crash of a commercial passenger jet flying between Sydney and Los Angeles, on a mysterious tropical island...

, The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race is a reality television game show in which teams of two people, who have some form of a preexisting personal relationship, race around the world in competition with other teams...

, America's Next Top Model, Cycle 10
America's Next Top Model, Cycle 10
America's Next Top Model, Cycle 10 was the tenth cycle of America's Next Top Model and the fourth season to be aired on The CW network...

which have significant parts of their story set within airports. In other programmes and films, airports are merely indicative of journeys, e.g. Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting
Good Will Hunting is a 1997 drama film directed by Gus Van Sant and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver, and Stellan Skarsgård...

.

Several computer simulation games put the player in charge of an airport. These include Airport Tycoon
Airport Tycoon
Airport Tycoon is a business simulation game, released for Windows 95/98 in 2000. It was developed in the United Kingdom by Krisalis Software . In Airport Tycoon, the player must successfully manage an airport, without going bankrupt...

 and the sequels: Airport Tycoon 2
Airport Tycoon 2
Airport Tycoon 2 is the sequel to Airport Tycoon in which the player builds and manages an airport. Airport Tycoon 2 adds new features like time to build, and disables custom terminals. The game was released on February 26, 2003 for the PC and is followed by Airport Tycoon 3....

 and Airport Tycoon 3
Airport Tycoon 3
Airport Tycoon 3 is a business simulation game, the sequel to Airport Tycoon and Airport Tycoon 2, in which the player builds and manages the biggest airport in the world. Airport Tycoon 3 takes away the time to build, and allows customizing terminals, but not custom terminal sizes...

. There is also a Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

ese series of games called Air Traffic Controller
Air Traffic Controller (video game)
is a simulation computer game series that simulates the operation of an airport developed by TechnoBrain. The games simulate the job of an air traffic controller. The player's mission is to direct planes onto the correct ILS, land them on the runway, taxi them to the correct gate, and to direct...

.

Airstrip



An airstrip or airfield is a kind of airport that consists only of a runway with perhaps fueling equipment. They are generally in remote locations. Many airstrips (now mostly abandoned) were built on the hundreds of islands in the Pacific Ocean
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

 during World War II. Sometimes a few airstrips become full fledged airbases as strategic or economic importance of a region increases over time.

Airport directories



Each national aviation authority has a source of information about airports in their country. This will contain information on airport elevation, airport lighting, runway information, communications facilities and frequencies, hours of operation, nearby NAVAIDs
Navigational aid
A navigational aid is any sort of marker which aids the traveler in navigation; the term is most commonly used to refer to nautical or aviation travel...

 and contact information where prior arrangement for landing is necessary.
  • Australia
    Australia
    Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

Information can be found on-line in the En route Supplement Australia (ERSA) which is published by Airservices Australia
Airservices Australia
Airservices Australia is an Australian Government agency, responsible for providing safe and environmentally sound air traffic control management and related airside services to the aviation industry within the Australian Flight Information Region...

, a government owned corporation charged with managing Australian ATC.
  • Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

Two publications, the Canada Flight Supplement
Canada Flight Supplement
The Canada Flight Supplement is a joint civil/military publication and is a supplement of the Aeronautical Information Publication . It is the nation's official airport directory...

(CFS) and the Water Aerodrome Supplement, published by NAV CANADA
NAV CANADA
Nav Canada is a privately run, not-for-profit corporation that owns and operates Canada's civil air navigation system .The company employs approximately 2,000 air traffic controllers , 800 flight service specialists and 700 technologists...

 under the authority of Transport Canada
Transport Canada
Transport Canada is the department within the government of Canada which is responsible for developing regulations, policies and services of transportation in Canada. It is part of the Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities portfolio...

 provides equivalent information.
  • Europe
    Europe
    Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation
European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation
EUROCONTROL is the European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation. Founded in 1963, it is an international organisation working for seamless, pan-European air traffic management. EUROCONTROL is a civil organisation and currently has 39 member states; its headquarters are in...

 (EUROCONTROL) provides an Aeronautical Information Publication
Aeronautical Information Publication
In aviation, an Aeronautical Information Publication is defined by the International Civil Aviation Organization as a publication issued by or with the authority of a state and containing aeronautical information of a lasting character essential to air navigation...

 (AIP), aeronautical chart
Aeronautical chart
An aeronautical chart is a map designed to assist in navigation of aircraft, much as nautical charts do for watercraft, or a roadmap for drivers...

s and NOTAM
NOTAM
NOTAM or NoTAM is the quasi-acronym for a "Notice To Airmen". NOTAMs are created and transmitted by government agencies and airport operators under guidelines specified by Annex 15: Aeronautical Information Services of the Convention on International Civil Aviation...

 services for multiple European countries.
  • Germany
    Germany
    Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

Provided by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt
Luftfahrt-Bundesamt
The Luftfahrt-Bundesamt is the national civil aviation authority of Germany headquartered in Braunschweig...

 (Federal Office for Civil Aviation of Germany).
  • France
    France
    The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

Aviation Generale Delage edited by Delville and published by Breitling.
  • The United Kingdom
    United Kingdom
    The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

     and Ireland
    Republic of Ireland
    Ireland , described as the Republic of Ireland , is a sovereign state in Europe occupying approximately five-sixths of the island of the same name. Its capital is Dublin. Ireland, which had a population of 4.58 million in 2011, is a constitutional republic governed as a parliamentary democracy,...

The information is found in Pooley's Flight Guide, a publication compiled with the assistance of the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Pooley's also contains information on some continental European airports that are close to Great Britain. National Air Traffic Services
National Air Traffic Services
NATS Ltd. is the main air navigation service provider in the United Kingdom. It provides en-route air traffic control services to flights within the UK Flight Information Regions and the Shanwick Oceanic Control Area, and provides air traffic control services to fifteen UK airports and Gibraltar...

, the UK's Air Navigation Service Provider
Air Navigation Service Provider
An Air Navigation Service Provider is the organisation that separates aircraft on the ground or in flight in a dedicated block of airspace on behalf of a state or a number of states....

, a public–private partnership also publishes an online AIP for the UK.
  • The United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

The U.S. uses the Airport/Facility Directory
Airport/Facility Directory
The Airport/Facility Directory , in the U.S., is a pilot’s manual that provides comprehensive information on airports, large and small, and other aviation facilities and procedures.-Description:...

(A/FD), published in seven volumes. DAFIF
DAFIF
DAFIF or the Digital Aeronautical Flight Information File is a complete and comprehensive database of up-to-date aeronautical data, including information on airports, airways, airspaces, navigation data and other facts relevant to flying in the entire world, managed by the National...

 also includes extensive airport data.
  • Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) is provided by Japan Aeronautical Information Service Center, under the authority of Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.

  • A comprehensive, consumer/business directory of commercial airports in the world (primarily for airports as businesses, rather than for pilots) is organized by the trade group Airports Council International
    Airports Council International
    Airports Council International is the association of the world’s airports. It is a non profit organization, whose prime purpose is to advance the interests of airports and to promote professional excellence in airport management and operations...

    .

See also



  • Domestic airport
    Domestic airport
    A domestic airport is an airport which handles only domestic flights or flights within the same country. Domestic airports don't have customs and immigration facilities and are therefore incapable of handling flights to or from a foreign airport....

  • Environmental impact of aviation
  • Model airport
    Model airport
    A trend among aircraft model collectors is to build model airports. While airport models have been around, in a way, since air fields were open to the public, early model airports were basically restricted to public showcases about the airport and its surroundings to the public; these were usually...

  • NIMBY
    NIMBY
    NIMBY or Nimby is an acronym for the phrase "not in my back yard". The term is used pejoratively to describe opposition by residents to a proposal for a new development close to them. Opposing residents themselves are sometimes called Nimbies...

  • Regional airport
  • World's busiest airport
    World's busiest airport
    The definition of the world's busiest airport has been specified by the Airports Council International in Geneva, Switzerland. The ACI defines and measures the following three types of airport traffic:...



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