Impact of Newer Larger Aircraft on Airport Management
Airport management is an essential aspect of the day to day operations of an airport. As we radically move into the technological age, more people realize that air transport is the best and quickest way to travel. That is why there are many individuals and corporations that are trying to come up with new and innovative methods to make air travel safer and more convenient. The essay explores the impacts of larger aircrafts on airport management.
Air management is responsible for ensuring airports operations go on without a glitch (Grothaus et al., 2009). Some of the duties of an airport manager include ensuring that an airport staff gives the correct and convenient travel information to passengers. Managers also ensure that all security and ticketing systems are all in good working condition as well as making employees’ schedules. An airport manager should also be well informed of an airport’s operations, policies and procedures. A manager should also ensure that the luggage and freight departments work in an efficient and logical manner.
When a new bigger aircraft comes to an airport, an airport management should have already put measures in place to incorporate a new aircraft into a company’s operations. Airport design refers to the layout of airports facilities. Airport design determines where each facility at an airport will be situated. Airport design determines where terminus, runways, and lounges will be situated. A bigger aircraft will need more space in the airplane hangar, and it means the maintenance cost of an airplane will increase. Prior to purchasing a bigger airplane, an airport should have made plans in advance because they cannot buy a bigger plane without having a place to keep it. This means that an airport should have adequate land for the larger facilities as well as a bigger runway to accommodate an airplane. It would be very embarrassing to leave an aircraft at another airport. It would be very defaming to the reputation of an airport.
Airport design is an ever-evolving concept because as an airport grows, the need to expand becomes essential (Yoder & Witczak, 2006). The individuals responsible for an airport designs are entrusted to come up with new and innovative ways to improve an airport’s operations. They are supposed to design and construct all of an airport’s facilities. One important aspect of designing airports is the runway. The runway is facility that takes up much of an airport’s space. The runway requires expert construction, since any miscalculations can lead to grave consequences. Moreover, the runway has to have the right texture because of the friction caused by plane’s tires, as it lands. If the surface is too smooth, an airplane might skid, and an accident may occur, while a rough surface will create too much friction and can result in accidents. The best surface is a tarmac runway, which provides the best texture, while some designers substitute tarmac surfaces for pavements.
Taxiways are the roads that are specifically used by aircrafts and other support vehicles for safety reasons. These roads are used to connect hangars, terminals, and other airport areas. The access to taxiways is limited to aircrafts only and any unauthorized personnel or vehicle using this facility is dealt with accordingly (Shawcross, 2011). While taxiing, an aircraft usually moves at a very slow pace and uses its power to do so. Some of the larger aircraft are towed by smaller powerful vehicles. This action raises safety concerns, since it is difficult to navigate a big airplane safely without a pilot. It is one of the prime reasons why there are strict guidelines as to which individuals should access the hangars. So, it is imperative that when an aircraft is being towed, there should be an experienced pilot navigating an aircraft. The materials used to construct taxiways are strong enough to withstand the tremendous weight of aircrafts, but they cannot withstand high speed rates and jet blast. It makes them unsuitable to be used as a runway. In case an airport uses them as runways, there are bound to be severe consequences, such as accidents that might result in fatalities. However, runways can accommodate aircrafts that can rapidly accelerate during takeoff and landing. They have ample space that, in turn, reduces the risk of injuries, in case of an accident.
A larger airplane requires a lot of space, therefore, an airport should have enough space. Then they can just expand the size to accommodate newer, larger planes. In addition, it is mandatory that an aircraft sticks to taxiways, while taxiing. Sometimes these planes may require crossing runways; all planes about to take off or land are halted due to safety reasons. Taxiways have various markings and lightings used to alert pilots to the center lines and edges of the taxiway to avoid going off and causing an accident. These lightings also help the pilot see the runway’s direction. During the day, bold painted markings are used, while, at night, the lightings come into effect. Signs that are situated near taxiways also provide additional directional information, so as to keep pilots on track.
Planes that are taking off and usually landing have precedence over other planes, since they are in a state of acceleration, and any form of blockage might result in fatalities. The traffic at an airport is controlled by air traffic controllers, whose prime objectives are keeping the runways as clear as possible at any given time. Air traffic controllers are also supposed to ensure that all flights take off without any delays. However, pilots also need to be careful and use common sense, since they are responsible for safety of the passengers, and they should report any safety issues that may arise during the course of a flight. A larger aircraft is given way before smaller aircrafts because they are harder to maneuver and control, while taxiing and the smaller aircrafts might cause unnecessary delays and accidents. Some of the various forms of markings used in taxiways include taxi edge markings, taxi shoulder markings and surface painted taxiway direction signs. Taxi edge markings are divided in two categories - continuous and dashed markings.
Over the years, airports have expanded, as more and more individuals choose air transport over other modes of transportation. This action has led to an influx of passengers, and it has sometimes resulted in delaying flights and dissatisfied customers. Airports have become congested and some of them are overwhelmed because their facilities cannot accommodate all those passengers (Airport International, 2007). Therefore, airports need to make long-term expansion and improvement plans, in anticipation of the future. Some of the issues that need consideration during the expansion process include security controls, the capacity of the baggage handling system and the number of gates and remote aircraft stands. The team in charge of an airport design needs to determine the required capacities, so as to ensure the smooth running of an airport’s operations.
In order for an airport to experience operational improvements, its daily operations have to be controlled and anticipated, since it is the most efficient way to determine the peaks and bottlenecks. Airport simulations enable an airport to conduct its operations efficiently and can be used in all aspects and departments of an airport. A prime example is the Samanta simulation and management tool. Samanta refers to the Simulation Application for Modeling and Analysis of a Total Airport (Ghosh, Delampady, & Samantha, 2006). Samanta provides a quantitative insight into the future, as well as current capacity requirements. The Samantha simulation evaluates individual airport processes and the relationships between other processes. The Samantha simulation model can also be used to analyze and validate the long-term developments, assess bottlenecks, capacity allocations and the personnel’s day-to-day planning.
Aircrafts need to be constantly evaluated. After every flight, an airport’s engineers and mechanics should take time and check the plane for any signs of damage or just as a precaution. An aircraft should not make a returning flight without being evaluated, as it could mean the difference between life and death. However, a bigger aircraft means it will take more time before a complete evaluation of the whole plane can be concluded. It may lead to losses, as the plane will be grounded during the period it will take to conduct the evaluation (MacDonalds, 2011). An airport management should always take some time to evaluate all aircrafts within an airport. It should not be disheartened by the loss it will incur, but the lives that might be saved in the event a fault is found within one of aircrafts. The evaluation exercise is also a good way of picking out the faulty aircrafts and replacing them with new ones. Air travel is enjoyable and very convenient, but it is also good to be cautious. That is why airports are formulating and implementing all of these numerous policies, so as to make sure that all the passengers using their airplanes are protected.
Airport International. (2007). Gate capacity management. Retrieved from http://www.airport-int.com/article/gate-capacity-management.html
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Grothaus, J. H., National Research Council (U.S.), Transportation Research Board, Airport Cooperative Research Program., & United States. Federal Aviation Administration. (2009). Guidebook for managing small airports. Washington, D.C: Transportation Research Board.
MacDonalds, D. H. (2011). Owner assisted aircraft maintenance. Alpha Zulu LLC
Shawcross, P. (2011). Flightpath: Aviation English for pilots and ATCOs, student's book. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Yoder, E. J., & Witczak, M. W. (2006). Principles of pavement design. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.