An airport is an aerodrome with extended facilities for commercial air transport. Airports have facilities to store and maintain aircraft, 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, includes adjacent utility buildings such as control towers and terminals. Larger airports may have airport aprons, taxiway bridges, air traffic control centres, passenger facilities such as restaurants and lounges, emergency services. In some countries, the US in particular, they typically have one or more fixed-base operators, serving general aviation. An airport serving helicopters is called a heliport. An airport for use by seaplanes and amphibious aircraft is called a seaplane base; such a base includes a stretch of open water for takeoffs and landings, seaplane docks for tying-up. An international airport has additional facilities for customs and passport control as well as incorporating all of the aforementioned elements.
Such airports rank among the most complex and largest of all built typologies with 15 of the top 50 buildings by floor area being airport terminals. The terms aerodrome and airstrip may be used to refer to airports, the terms heliport, seaplane base, STOLport refer to airports dedicated to helicopters, seaplanes, or short take-off and landing aircraft. In colloquial use in certain environments, the terms airport and aerodrome are interchanged. However, in general, the term airport may imply or confer a certain stature upon the aviation facility that other aerodromes may not have achieved. In some jurisdictions, airport is a legal term of art reserved for those aerodromes certified or licensed as airports by the relevant national aviation authority after meeting specified certification criteria or regulatory requirements; that is to say, all airports are aerodromes, but not all aerodromes are airports. In jurisdictions where there is no legal distinction between aerodrome and airport, which term to use in the name of an aerodrome may be a commercial decision.
In United States technical/legal usage, landing area is used instead of aerodrome, airport means "a landing area used by aircraft for receiving or discharging passengers or cargo". Smaller or less-developed airfields, which represent the vast majority have a single runway shorter than 1,000 m. Larger airports for airline flights have paved runways of 2,000 m or longer. Skyline Airport in Inkom, Idaho has a runway, only 122 m long. In the United States, the minimum dimensions for dry, hard landing fields are defined by the FAR Landing And Takeoff Field Lengths; these include considerations for safety margins during takeoff. The longest public-use runway in the world is at Qamdo Bamda Airport in China, it has a length of 5,500 m. The world's widest paved runway is 105 m wide; as of 2009, the CIA stated that there were 44,000 "... airports or airfields recognizable from the air" around the world, including 15,095 in the US, the US having the most in the world. Most of the world's large airports are owned by local, regional, or national government bodies who lease the airport to private corporations who oversee the airport's operation.
For example, in the United Kingdom the state-owned British Airports Authority operated eight of the nation's major commercial airports – it was subsequently privatized in the late 1980s, following its takeover by the Spanish Ferrovial consortium in 2006, has been further divested and downsized to operating just Heathrow now. Germany's Frankfurt Airport is managed by the quasi-private firm Fraport. While in India GMR Group operates, through joint ventures, Indira Gandhi International Airport and Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. Bengaluru International Airport and Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport are controlled by GVK Group; the rest of India's airports are managed by the Airports Authority of India. In Pakistan nearly all civilian airports are owned and operated by the Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority except for Sialkot International Airport which has the distinction of being the first owned public airport in Pakistan and South Asia. In the United States, commercial airports are operated directly by government entities or government-created airport authorities, such as the Los Angeles World Airports authority that oversees several airports in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Los Angeles International Airport.
In Canada, the federal authority, Transport Canada, divested itself of all but the remotest airports in 1999/2000. Now most airports in Canada are owned and operated by individual legal authorities or are municipally owned. Many U. S. airports still lease part or all of their facilities to outside firms, who operate functions such as retail management and parking. In the U. S. all commercial airport runways are certified by the FAA under the Code of Federal Regulations Title 14 Part 139, "Certification of Commercial Service Airports" but maintained by the local airport under the regulatory authority of the FAA. Despite the reluctance to privatize airports in the US, the government-owned, contractor-operated arrangement is the standard for the operation of commercial airports in the rest of the world. Airports are divided into airside areas; the landside area is open to the public, while access to the airside area is controlled. The airside area includes all parts of the airpo
According to the International Civil Aviation Organization, a runway is a "defined rectangular area on a land aerodrome prepared for the landing and takeoff of aircraft". Runways may be a natural surface. In January 1919, aviation pioneer Orville Wright underlined the need for "distinctly marked and prepared landing places, the preparing of the surface of reasonably flat ground an expensive undertaking there would be a continuous expense for the upkeep." Runways are named by a number between 01 and 36, the magnetic azimuth of the runway's heading in decadegrees. This heading differs from true north by the local magnetic declination. A runway numbered 09 points east, runway 18 is south, runway 27 points west and runway 36 points to the north; when taking off from or landing on runway 09, a plane is heading around 90°. A runway can be used in both directions, is named for each direction separately: e.g. "runway 15" in one direction is "runway 33" when used in the other. The two numbers differ by 18.
For clarity in radio communications, each digit in the runway name is pronounced individually: runway one-five, runway three-three, etc.. A leading zero, for example in "runway zero-six" or "runway zero-one-left", is included for all ICAO and some U. S. military airports. However, most U. S. civil aviation airports drop the leading zero. This includes some military airfields such as Cairns Army Airfield; this American anomaly may lead to inconsistencies in conversations between American pilots and controllers in other countries. It is common in a country such as Canada for a controller to clear an incoming American aircraft to, for example, runway 04, the pilot read back the clearance as runway 4. In flight simulation programs those of American origin might apply U. S. usage to airports around the world. For example, runway 05 at Halifax will appear on the program as the single digit 5 rather than 05. If there is more than one runway pointing in the same direction, each runway is identified by appending left and right to the number to identify its position — for example, runways one-five-left, one-five-center, one-five-right.
Runway zero-three-left becomes runway two-one-right. In some countries, regulations mandate that where parallel runways are too close to each other, only one may be used at a time under certain conditions. At large airports with four or more parallel runways some runway identifiers are shifted by 1 to avoid the ambiguity that would result with more than three parallel runways. For example, in Los Angeles, this system results in runways 6L, 6R, 7L, 7R though all four runways are parallel at 69°. At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, there are five parallel runways, named 17L, 17C, 17R, 18L, 18R, all oriented at a heading of 175.4°. An airport with only three parallel runways may use different runway identifiers, such as when a third parallel runway was opened at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in 2000 to the south of existing 8R/26L — rather than confusingly becoming the "new" 8R/26L it was instead designated 7R/25L, with the former 8R/26L becoming 7L/25R and 8L/26R becoming 8/26.
Runway designations may change over time because Earth's magnetic lines drift on the surface and the magnetic direction changes. Depending on the airport location and how much drift occurs, it may be necessary to change the runway designation; as runways are designated with headings rounded to the nearest 10°, this affects some runways sooner than others. For example, if the magnetic heading of a runway is 233°, it is designated Runway 23. If the magnetic heading changes downwards by 5 degrees to 228°, the runway remains Runway 23. If on the other hand the original magnetic heading was 226°, the heading decreased by only 2 degrees to 224°, the runway becomes Runway 22; because magnetic drift itself is slow, runway designation changes are uncommon, not welcomed, as they require an accompanying change in aeronautical charts and descriptive documents. When runway designations do change at major airports, it is changed at night as taxiway signs need to be changed and the huge numbers at each end of the runway need to be repainted to the new runway designators.
In July 2009 for example, London Stansted Airport in the United Kingdom changed its runway designations from 05/23 to 04/22 during the night. For fixed-wing aircraft it is advantageous to perform takeoffs and landings into the wind to reduce takeoff or landing roll and reduce the ground speed needed to attain flying speed. Larger airports have several runways in different directions, so that one can be selected, most nearly aligned with the wind. Airports with one runway are constructed to be aligned with the prevailing wind. Compiling a wind rose is in fact one of the preliminary steps taken in constructing airport runways. Note that wind direction is given as the direction the wind is coming from: a plane taking off from runway 09 faces east, into an "east wind" blowing from 090°. Runway dimensions vary from as small as 245 m long and 8 m wide in s
Federal Aviation Administration
The Federal Aviation Administration is a governmental body of the United States with powers to regulate all aspects of civil aviation in that nation as well as over its surrounding international waters. Its powers include the construction and operation of airports, air traffic management, the certification of personnel and aircraft, the protection of U. S. assets during the launch or re-entry of commercial space vehicles. Powers over neighboring international waters were delegated to the FAA by authority of the International Civil Aviation Organization. Created in August 1958, the FAA replaced the former Civil Aeronautics Administration and became an agency within the US Department of Transportation; the FAA's roles include: Regulating U. S. commercial space transportation Regulating air navigation facilities' geometric and flight inspection standards Encouraging and developing civil aeronautics, including new aviation technology Issuing, suspending, or revoking pilot certificates Regulating civil aviation to promote transportation safety in the United States through local offices called Flight Standards District Offices Developing and operating a system of air traffic control and navigation for both civil and military aircraft Researching and developing the National Airspace System and civil aeronautics Developing and carrying out programs to control aircraft noise and other environmental effects of civil aviation The FAA is divided into four "lines of business".
Each LOB has a specific role within the FAA. Airports: plans and develops projects involving airports, overseeing their construction and operations. Ensures compliance with federal regulations. Air Traffic Organization: primary duty is to safely and efficiently move air traffic within the National Airspace System. ATO employees manage air traffic facilities including Airport Traffic Control Towers and Terminal Radar Approach Control Facilities. See Airway Operational Support. Aviation Safety: Responsible for aeronautical certification of personnel and aircraft, including pilots and mechanics. Commercial Space Transportation: ensures protection of U. S. assets during the launch or reentry of commercial space vehicles. The FAA is headquartered in Washington, D. C. as well as the William J. Hughes Technical Center in Atlantic City, New Jersey, the Mike Monroney Aeronautical Center in Oklahoma City and its nine regional offices: Alaskan Region – Anchorage, Alaska Northwest Mountain – Seattle, Washington Western Pacific – Los Angeles, California Southwest – Fort Worth, Texas Central – Kansas City, Missouri Great Lakes – Chicago, Illinois Southern – Atlanta, Georgia Eastern – New York, New York New England – Boston, Massachusetts The Air Commerce Act of May 20, 1926, is the cornerstone of the federal government's regulation of civil aviation.
This landmark legislation was passed at the urging of the aviation industry, whose leaders believed the airplane could not reach its full commercial potential without federal action to improve and maintain safety standards. The Act charged the Secretary of Commerce with fostering air commerce and enforcing air traffic rules, licensing pilots, certifying aircraft, establishing airways, operating and maintaining aids to air navigation; the newly created Aeronautics Branch, operating under the Department of Commerce assumed primary responsibility for aviation oversight. In fulfilling its civil aviation responsibilities, the Department of Commerce concentrated on such functions as safety regulations and the certification of pilots and aircraft, it took over the building and operation of the nation's system of lighted airways, a task initiated by the Post Office Department. The Department of Commerce improved aeronautical radio communications—before the founding of the Federal Communications Commission in 1934, which handles most such matters today—and introduced radio beacons as an effective aid to air navigation.
The Aeronautics Branch was renamed the Bureau of Air Commerce in 1934 to reflect its enhanced status within the Department. As commercial flying increased, the Bureau encouraged a group of airlines to establish the first three centers for providing air traffic control along the airways. In 1936, the Bureau itself began to expand the ATC system; the pioneer air traffic controllers used maps and mental calculations to ensure the safe separation of aircraft traveling along designated routes between cities. In 1938, the Civil Aeronautics Act transferred the federal civil aviation responsibilities from the Commerce Department to a new independent agency, the Civil Aeronautics Authority; the legislation expanded the government's role by giving the CAA the authority and the power to regulate airline fares and to determine the routes that air carriers would serve. President Franklin D. Roosevelt split the authority into two agencies in 1940: the Civil Aeronautics Administration and the Civil Aeronautics Board.
CAA was responsible for ATC, airman and aircraft certification, safety enforcement, airway development. CAB was entrusted with safety regulation, accident investigation, economic regulation of the airlines; the CAA was part of the Department of Commerce. The CAB was an independent federal agency. On the eve of America's entry into World War II, CAA began to extend its ATC responsibilities to takeoff and landing operations at airports; this expanded role became permanent after the war. The application of radar to ATC helped controllers in their drive to keep abreast of the postwar boom in commercial air transportation. In 1946, Congress gave CAA the added task of administering the federal-aid airport program, the first peacetime program of financial assistance aimed exclusivel
International Civil Aviation Organization
The International Civil Aviation Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations. It codifies the principles and techniques of international air navigation and fosters the planning and development of international air transport to ensure safe and orderly growth, its headquarters is located in the Quartier International of Montreal, Canada. The ICAO Council adopts standards and recommended practices concerning air navigation, its infrastructure, flight inspection, prevention of unlawful interference, facilitation of border-crossing procedures for international civil aviation. ICAO defines the protocols for air accident investigation followed by transport safety authorities in countries signatory to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation; the Air Navigation Commission is the technical body within ICAO. The Commission is composed of 19 Commissioners, nominated by the ICAO's contracting states, appointed by the ICAO Council. Commissioners serve as independent experts, who although nominated by their states, do not serve as state or political representatives.
The development of international Standards And Recommended Practices is done under the direction of the ANC through the formal process of ICAO Panels. Once approved by the Commission, standards are sent to the Council, the political body of ICAO, for consultation and coordination with the Member States before final adoption. ICAO is distinct from other international air transport organizations, like the International Air Transport Association, a trade association representing airlines; the forerunner to ICAO was the International Commission for Air Navigation. It held its first convention in 1903 in Berlin, but no agreements were reached among the eight countries that attended. At the second convention in 1906 held in Berlin, 27 countries attended; the third convention, held in London in 1912 allocated the first radio callsigns for use by aircraft. ICAN continued to operate until 1945. Fifty-two countries signed the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation known as the Chicago Convention, in Chicago, Illinois, on 7 December 1944.
Under its terms, a Provisional International Civil Aviation Organization was to be established, to be replaced in turn by a permanent organization when 26 countries ratified the convention. Accordingly, PICAO began operating on 6 June 1945, replacing ICAN; the 26th country ratified the Convention on 5 March 1947 and PICAO was disestablished on 4 April 1947 and replaced by ICAO, which began operations the same day. In October 1947, ICAO became an agency of the United Nations linked to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. In April 2013 Qatar offered to serve as the new permanent seat of the Organization. Qatar promised to construct a massive new headquarters for ICAO and cover all moving expenses, stating that Montreal "was too far from Europe and Asia", "had cold winters," was hard to attend due to the refusal of the Canadian government to provide visas in a timely manner, that the taxes imposed on ICAO by Canada were too high. According to The Globe and Mail, Qatar's move was at least motivated by the pro-Israel foreign policy of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
One month Qatar withdrew its bid after a separate proposal to the ICAO's governing council to move the ICAO triennial conference to Doha was defeated by a vote of 22–14. The 9th edition of the Convention on International Civil Aviation includes modifications from 1948 up to year 2006. ICAO refers to its current edition of the Convention as the Statute, designates it as ICAO Document 7300/9; the Convention has 19 Annexes that are listed by title in the article Convention on International Civil Aviation. As of January 2019, there are 192 ICAO members, consisting of 191 of the 193 UN members, plus the Cook Islands. Liechtenstein has delegated Switzerland to enter into the treaty on its behalf and the treaty applies in the territory of Liechtenstein; the Republic of China was a founding member of ICAO but was replaced by People's Republic of China as the legal representative of China in 1971 and as such, did not take part in the organization. In 2013, the Republic of China was for the first time invited to attend 38th session of ICAO Assembly as a guest under the name of Chinese Taipei.
The Council of ICAO is elected by the Assembly every 3 years and consists of 36 members elected in 3 groups. The present Council was elected on 4 October 2016 at the 39th Assembly of ICAO at Montreal; the structure of the present Council is as follows: ICAO standardizes certain functions for use in the airline industry, such as the Aeronautical Message Handling System. This makes it a standards organization; each country should have an accessible Aeronautical Information Publication, based on standards defined by ICAO, containing information essential to air navigation. Countries are required to update their AIP manuals every 28 days and so provide definitive regulations and information for each country about airspace and airports. ICAO's standards dictate that temporary hazards to aircraft are published using NOTAMs. ICAO defines an International Standard Atmosphere, a model of the standard variation of pressure, temperature and viscosity with altitude in the Earth's atmosphere; this is useful in designing aircraft.