What is an Airport?

In this article we are going to address different issues that will make us have a global vision of airports and their operation. In addition to knowing some of the most representative airports on the national and international scene.

What is the airport?

We can define an airport as all that land where we can find facilities and runways for aircraft takeoff, landing and traffic, as well as maintenance, fuel loading, passenger boarding and disembarkation, etc.

It should be said that an airport has an infinity of different facilities, services, buildings in its entirety, but we can divide it into two parts:

  • Air side (air-side), which includes the runways, both for taking off and landing, the taxiways and the aircraft parking area.
  • Land-side, which is dedicated to the passenger, that is, it includes the terminal building (with commercial areas as well), customs, car parking, etc.

What services do airports offer?

Airport services are those services provided by airport service operators, the airport manager or collaborating companies that operate in the airport infrastructure. We can distinguish between services directed to aircraft and services directed to passengers, which we could divide between airport services and passenger/commercial services.

Airport services include services of:

  • Ramp (ground assistance to aircraft in relation to boarding, disembarkation of cargo, passengers, merchandise and courier), fuel supply, food supply (catering), cargo storage terminals, aircraft cleaning services, aircraft dispatch, online maintenance, operations control, security service, etc.
  • We also find other assistance services of vital importance: fauna control, meteorology services, slot allocation, rescue and firefighting, etc.
  • Regarding passenger/commercial services:
    • Flight billing services, security control, passport control, waiting areas with seats, assistance services for people with reduced mobility (PRM), adequate indications and signage and information points, catering offers, VIP rooms, offer of essential purchases (pharmacies, travel accessories, etc.).

What are the types of airports?

The types of airports according to their main activity are civil, general aviation and air cargo airports. We will see the characteristics of each one:

  • Civil airports: those airports that are intended to serve passengers who use aircraft as a means of transportation.
  • General aviation airports : these are all airports that host general aviation flights, which means all civil flights that are not regular or charter airlines.
  • Air cargo airports : are all airports located in strategic areas within the economic or industrial sphere intended to be the point of departure or arrival of a cargo or merchandise that is going to be transported by air.

What is the importance of airports?

Airports are essential for the economic development of any place. They improve communications, lead to the creation of jobs, generate economic activity and revalue the environment. The globalization of the current world makes it essential for society to be able to use air transport for both business and leisure reasons. Airports occupy the first place of importance in the tourist and business activities of each country.

The globalization of the current world makes it essential for society to be able to use air transport for both business and leisure reasons. Airports occupy the first place of importance in the tourist and business activities of each country.

What does “estimated time of arrival” mean at the airport?

The estimated time of arrival (also known as ETA, for its acronym in English Estimated Time of Arrival) is defined as the period of time that a certain flight is expected to arrive at the destination airport.

What do I have to do to work at the airport?

Next, we are going to solve different doubts about how to work in airports. For this, it is necessary to know that the main jobs in airports can be divided into three large groups:

  1. Ramp Services (Handling): assistance to aircraft to be able to offer the necessary services for the operation of flights. The main positions that exist are: flight coordinator, ramp agent (baggage), gangway operators, billing personnel, fuel supply personnel.To work in these positions, too much training is not required, internal training is usually carried out in companies. They usually hire auxiliary Handling companies (Swissport, Groundforce, Aviapartner, Lesma, etc.) or the airlines themselves with their Handling subsidiaries (Iberia, Azul Handling (Ryanair), Easyjet, Lufthansa, etc.).
  2. Commercial and auxiliary services: work in airport businesses: shops, cafeterias, etc. No training is required for these positions, they hire the shops themselves that can put you to work on the Gran VĂ­a in Madrid, but for the airport shops.We can also find the cleaning staff, information points, etc.
  3. Technical sector positions: technical positions related to airport operations. We can find the staff of the airport manager, in the case of Spain AENA, staff from companies contracted by the airport manager (AERTEC, Vanderlande, etc.) who usually work on quality projects, maintenance, operations, etc.To work in these positions, university studies are usually required, mainly aeronautical engineers and managers, but also finance and law studies.

Who invented the airport?

It is popularly known that, in 1903, the Wright brothers, Orville and Wilburg, made the first flight in history in an airplane in North Carolina, USA. This flight took off from an esplanade that had nothing to do with an airport of course.

Years later, in 1909, the same protagonists mentioned above launched the project that is considered the first airport in the world. So what was the first airport in the world? Located in Maryland, near the US capital, College Park Airport (which is still operational) became this first airport, consisting at that time of a runway marked with lime, some hangars with fuel tanks and a rather primitive platform where they embarked. the passengers.

Major airports in Europe

The main airports in Europe by number of passengers in 2019 and connectivity are:

  • London-Heathrow (LHR) 80 Million
  • Paris-Charles de Gaulle (CDG) 76 Million
  • Amsterdam Schipol (AMS) 71 Million
  • Frankfurt (FRA) 70 Million
  • Madrid (MAD) 59 Million

Major airports in the rest of the world

The main airports in Europe by number of passengers in 2019 and connectivity are:

  • Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport: 110 million passengers
  • Beijing Capital International Airport: 100 million passengers
  • Los Angeles International Airport: 88 million passengers
  • Dubai International Airport: 86 million passengers
  • Tokyo’s Haneda Airport: 85 million passengers
  • Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport: 84 million passengers
  • Shanghai Pudong International Airport: 76 million passengers
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport: 75 million passengers
  • Guangzhou-Baiyun International Airport: 73 million passengers
  • Hong Kong International Airport: 71 million passengers

What is the smallest airport called ?

The smallest airport in the world is Yrausquin, located on Saba, a Caribbean island belonging to the Netherlands. It has a track of only 400 meters of asphalt.

Why are airports built on the sea?

Airports can be built over the sea for different reasons:

  • As a first reason, they can be built on the sea because there is not enough land surface to carry out the project, which is to build an airport and it is decided to build it on the sea, since there is no inconvenience of the limitation of land surface.
  • Building an airport over the sea would prevent further damage in the event of an accident, by being able to land over the sea.
  • Cities with sea are considered strategic points for trade.
  • To achieve a more efficient relationship between the port and the airport.

What time to arrive at the airport before taking a flight?

If the flight in question is domestic, many airlines consider that the time to arrive at the airport to avoid any setbacks is between 45 and 90 minutes. However, if the flight is international, it is advisable to arrive at the airport with more time in advance, between 2 and 3 hours before the departure time of the flight, since different controls have to be passed than on domestic flights., like the passport, for example.

The departure time of the flight should not be confused with the closing time of the boarding gate. Many airlines close the gates between 15 and 30 minutes before the flight departure time. Therefore, just because the flight departure time is at a certain time, it does not mean that you can show up at the last minute to board the flight.

Airport Areas

What is a sterile area of an airport?

The sterile area of an airport is the area between an inspection post and the aircraft. Its access is fully controlled and it is used for passengers to remain waiting for a flight.

What is a security restricted area ?

The security restricted area is defined as any area or space in an airport whose access is subject to access control and security control. This area includes the airport area to which passengers waiting to board and who have passed security control have access, and the area of the airport used for parking aircraft for loading or boarding operations.

When is an airport international?

An airport is international when it has customs and immigration facilities that allow the management of international flights with other countries.

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