An airport has two major components, an airfield and terminals. A
typical airfield is composed of a runway as well as two (or one) parallel
taxiing lanes. The angle of the connecting lanes between the runway
and the taxiing lanes permits the quick exit from the runway for planes
that have just landed. Two of three exiting options are provided per
landing direction depending of the plane's size. A small aircraft will
take less distance to brake than a large aircraft and has thus the opportunity
the shortly exit the runway, freeing valuable takeoff or landing slots.
Although there is a wide variety of terminal designs, most fit within
- The linear orientation of terminals (1) allows several
planes to transit passengers at the same time and represents one
of the most common terminal design. The inconvenience of this type
of terminal is when they are of large size, movements of passengers
and luggage can be long particularly if they are used as hubs (e.g.
Chicago, Brussels, Minneapolis / St. Paul).
- The islet (2) is an answer to this type of problem while
permitting the stowage of several planes on a smaller surface. The
isle is often linked to the rest of the airport by a hall or an
underground passage (Dallas/Fort Worth).
- Some airports opt for shuttles (3), which enables to
reduce the size of the terminal and maximize the number of planes
that can be serviced but may involve longer boarding times. In situations
of congestion shuttles are used for the unloading of passengers,
while freeing valuable gates for boarding. In a normal situation,
freight planes are loaded and unloaded by shuttles.