An airport is an aerodrome with facilities for flights to take off and land. Airports often have facilities to store and maintain aircraft, and a control tower. An airport consists of a landing area, which comprises an aerially accessible open space including at least one operationally active surface such as a runway for a plane to take off or a helipad, and often includes adjacent utility buildings such as control towers, hangars and terminals. Larger airports may have fixed-base operator services, airport aprons, air traffic control centres, passenger facilities such as restaurants and lounges, and emergency services.
An international airport has additional facilities for customs and passport control. Most of the world's airports are owned by local, regional, or national government bodies.
Air traffic control presence
The majority of the world's airports are non-towered, with no air traffic control presence. Busy airports have air traffic control (ATC) system. All airports use a traffic pattern to assure smooth traffic flow between departing and arriving aircraft. There are a number of aids available to pilots, though not all airports are equipped with them. Many airports have lighting that help guide planes using the runways and taxiways at night or in rain, snow, or fog. In the U.S. and Canada, the vast majority of airports, large and small, will either have some form of automated airport weather station, a human observer or a combination of the two. Air safety is an important concern in the operation of an airport, and airports often have their own safety services.
Airports are divided into landside and airside areas. Landside areas include parking lots, public transportation train stations and access roads. Airside areas include all areas accessible to aircraft, including runways, taxiways and aprons. Access from landside areas to airside areas is tightly controlled at most airports. Passengers on commercial flights access airside areas through terminals, where they can purchase tickets, clear security check, or claim luggage and board aircraft through gates. The waiting areas which provide passenger access to aircraft are typically called concourses, although this term is often used interchangeably with terminal.
The area where aircraft park next to a terminal to load passengers and baggage is known as a ramp. Parking areas for aircraft away from terminals are called aprons.
Airports can be towered or non-towered, depending on air traffic density and available funds. Due to their high capacity and busy airspace, many international airports have air traffic control located on site.
Airports with international flights have customs and immigration facilities. However, as some countries have agreements that allow travel between them without customs and immigrations, such facilities are not a definitive need for an international airport. International flights often require a higher level of physical security, although in recent years, many countries have adopted the same level of security for international and domestic travel.
Some airport structures include on-site hotels built within or attached to a terminal building. Airport hotels have grown popular due to their convenience for transient passengers and easy accessibility to the airport terminal. Many airport hotels also have agreements with airlines to provide overnight lodging for displaced passengers.
Cargo and freight services
In addition to people, airports move cargo around the clock. Cargo airlines often have their own on-site and adjacent infrastructure to transfer parcels between ground and air.
Cargo Terminal Facilities are areas where international airports export cargo has to be stored after customs clearance and prior to loading on the aircraft. Similarly import cargo that is offloaded needs to be in bond before the consignee decides to take delivery. Areas have to be kept aside for examination of export and import cargo by the airport authorities. Designated areas or sheds may be given to airlines or freight forward ring agencies.
Every cargo terminal has a landside and an airside. The landside is where the exporters and importers through either their agents or by themselves deliver or collect shipments while the airside is where loads are moved to or from the aircraft.
HK International Airport | LA Airports