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). Runways are labeled according to the
direction (rounded magnetic azimuth in decimal) they are facing.
Therefore, a plane using runway 09 would be facing east (90
degrees) while runway 27 (270 degrees) would be facing west. 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 quickly exit the runway, freeing valuable takeoff or landing
Although there is a wide variety of terminal designs, most fit within
- 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 drawback of this design is when they are of
numerous movements of passengers
and luggage between gates. This is particularly the case for
large hubs where passengers can contemplate several minutes of
walking between gates (e.g.
Frankfurt, Chicago, Brussels, Minneapolis / St. Paul).
- The isle (2), or satellite, is an answer to the lack
of terminal space 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. This however involves longer boarding times.
The usage of shuttle is often applied at large airport
facilities where large planes are serviced by regular jet
bridges while smaller domestic planes are parked on a pad and
serviced by buses. In situations of congestion shuttles can be used for unloading passengers,
which frees gates for boarding. In a normal situation,
freight planes are loaded and unloaded by shuttles (haulers
air unit load devices), so the shuttles design is prevalent
in air cargo operations.