Airport Components
An airport has two major components; an airfield and terminals. A typical airfield is composed of a runway for takeoffs and landings as well as two (or one) parallel taxiing lanes (taxiway). Connecting lanes between the runway and the taxiing lanes usually have an angle permitting the quick exit from the runway for planes that have just landed. Modern airfield designs provide two of three exiting options 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 to exitthe runway, freeing valuable takeoff or landing slots., freeing valuable takeoff or landing slots.
Although there is a wide variety of terminal designs, most fit within three categories:
  • The linear orientation of terminals (1) allows several planes to board passengers at the same time (through jet bridges) and represents one of the most common terminal design. The drawbackoffthis type of terminal is when they are of large size, movdhis 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. Frankfurt, Chicago, Brussels, Minneapolis / St. Paul).particularly if they are used as hubs (e.g. Frankfurt, Chicago, Brussels, Minneapolis / St. Paul).
  • The islet (2), or satellite, is an answer to the lack of terminal space problem by permitting the stowage of several planes on a smaller terminal surface. The satellite is often linked to the rest of the airport by a hall or an underground passage (e.g. Charles de Gaulle, Terminal 1, 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. This type of design is however less common for a whole terminal, but commonly applied to parts of a larger terminal. This can be the case for smaller domestic planes that are parked on a pad and serviced by buses. In situations of congestion shuttles can be used for unloading passengers, which frees valuable gates for boarding. In a normal situation, freight planes are loaded and unloaded by shuttles (haulers bringing air unit load devices), so the shuttles design is prevalent in air cargo operations.