Geographical Scales of Airport Location
Air hubs tend to by points of convergence of regional
services and gateways to international destinations. The location of an airport can be considered from three fundamental
scales of interaction:
- Local. The location of an airport is subject to accessibility
to its market area, implying that it must be easily reached by
the airport's customer base. Since
airport sites have many constraints, they tend to be located at
the fringe of the metropolitan areas they service. To alleviate
this problem, many airports have been integrated to highway and
railway systems, giving them a high level of local access and
often becoming urban poles on their own right.
- Regional. The location of an airport
fits in a network of passenger and freight air transport services.
The first level of this network concerns the regional system
where many airports act as hubs
enabling to service smaller airports, usually within a flying
time of less than two hours (short to medium ranges). Such
connections are reflective of the interactions within an urban
system and reflects the centrality of the airport city.
- International. Some airports are
enabling to connect locations across continents with long range
air services, which represents the third interaction scale. At
this scale, other factor than centrality may be at play since
some airports like Dubai offers a connectivity to
intercontinental air transport networks.