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An airport is an with extended facilities, mostly for commercial air transport.Wragg, D.; Historical dictionary of aviation, History Press 2008. Airports often have facilities to store and maintain , and a . An airport consists of a , which comprises an aerially accessible open space including at least one operationally active surface such as a for a to take off or a , and often includes adjacent utility buildings such as , and . Larger airports may have fixed-base operator services, , , air traffic control centres, passenger facilities such as restaurants and , and emergency services.

An airport with a helipad for rotorcraft but no runway is called a . An airport for use by and amphibious aircraft is called a . Such a base typically includes a stretch of open water for and , and seaplane docks for tying-up.

An international airport has additional facilities for and as well as incorporating all of the aforementioned elements above. 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.


Terminology
The terms , airfield, and may also be used to refer to airports, and the terms , seaplane base, and refer to airports dedicated exclusively to , , or aircraft.

In colloquial use, the terms airport and aerodrome are often interchanged. However, in general, the term airport may imply or confer a certain stature upon the aviation facility that an may not have achieved. In some jurisdictions, airport is a legal term of art reserved exclusively for those 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 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, and airport means "a landing area used regularly by aircraft for receiving or discharging passengers or cargo" 49 U.S.C. § 40102(a) (2012).


Management
Smaller or less-developed airports, which represent the vast majority, often have a single runway shorter than . Larger airports for flights generally have paved runways or longer. Many small airports have dirt, , or runways, rather than or . Skyline Airport in Inkom, Idaho has a runway that is only 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 landing and takeoff. Heavier aircraft require longer runways.

The longest public-use runway in the world is at Qamdo Bamda Airport in China. It has a length of . The world's widest paved runway is at Ulyanovsk Vostochny Airport in Russia and is wide.

, the CIA stated that there were approximately 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.


Airport ownership and operation

Most of the world's airports are owned by , , or bodies who then lease the airport to private who oversee the airport's operation. For example, in the United Kingdom the state-owned British Airports Authority originally operated eight of the nation's major commercial airports – it was subsequently privatized in the late 1980s, and following its takeover by the Spanish 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 . While in India operates, through , 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 a distinctions of being the first privately owned public airport in Pakistan and South Asia.

In the United States commercial airports are generally operated directly by government entities or government-created airport authorities (also known as ), 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 (despite the sponsoring a privatization program since 1996), the government-owned, contractor-operated (GOCO) arrangement is the standard for the operation of commercial airports in the rest of the world.


Landside and airside areas
Airports are divided into landside and airside areas. The landside area is open to the public, while access to the airside area is tightly controlled. The airside area includes all parts of the airport around the aircraft, and the parts of the buildings that are only accessible to passengers and staff. Passengers and staff must be checked by before being permitted to enter the airside area. Conversely, passengers arriving from an international flight must pass through and to access the landside area, where they can exit the airport. Many major airports will issue a secure called an to employees, as some roles require employees to frequently move back and forth between landside and airside as part of their duties.


Facilities

A is a building with passenger facilities. Small airports have one terminal. Large ones often have multiple terminals, though some large airports like Amsterdam Airport Schiphol still have one terminal. The terminal has a series of gates, which provide passengers with access to the plane.

The following facilities are essential for departing passengers:

The following facilities are essential for arriving passengers:

  • Passport control (international arrivals only)
  • Baggage reclaim facilities, often in the form of a
  • (international arrivals only)
  • A landside meeting place

For both sets of passengers, there must be a link between the passenger facilities and the aircraft, such as or . There also needs to be a baggage handling system, to transport baggage from the baggage drop-off to departing planes, and from arriving planes to the baggage reclaim.

The area where the aircraft park to load passengers and baggage is known as an apron or ramp (or incorrectly, "the tarmac").

Airports with international flights have customs and 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.

"" are being designed which could be located out at sea and which would use designs such as pneumatic stabilized platform technology.


Airport security
Airport security normally requires baggage checks, metal screenings of individual persons, and rules against any object that could be used as a weapon. Since the September 11 attacks and the Real ID Act of 2005, airport security has dramatically increased and got tighter and stricter than ever before.


Products and services
Most major airports provide commercial outlets for products and services. Most of these companies, many of which are internationally known brands, are located within the departure areas. These include clothing boutiques and restaurants and in the US amounted to $4.2 billion in 2015. Prices charged for items sold at these outlets are generally higher than those outside the airport. However, some airports now regulate costs to keep them comparable to "street prices". This term is misleading as prices often match the manufacturers' suggested retail price (MSRP) but are almost never discounted.

Apart from major fast food chains, some airport restaurants offer regional cuisine specialties for those in transit so that they may sample local food or culture without leaving the airport.USA Today newspaper, Oct. 17, 2006, p. 2D

Some airport structures include on-site 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 for displaced passengers.

Major airports in such countries as Russia and Japan offer miniature sleeping units within the airport that are available for rent by the hour. The smallest type is the popular in Japan. A slightly larger variety is known as a . An even larger type is provided by the company .


Premium and VIP services
Airports may also contain premium and VIP services. The premium and VIP services may include express and dedicated check-in counters. These services are usually reserved for First and passengers, premium frequent flyers, and members of the airline's clubs. Premium services may sometimes be open to passengers who are members of a different airline's frequent flyer program. This can sometimes be part of a reciprocal deal, as when multiple airlines are part of the same alliance, or as a ploy to attract premium customers away from rival airlines.

Sometimes these premium services will be offered to a non-premium passenger if the airline has made a mistake in handling of the passenger, such as unreasonable delays or mishandling of checked baggage.

Airline lounges frequently offer free or reduced cost food, as well as alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Lounges themselves typically have , showers, quiet areas, televisions, computer, and Internet access, and power outlets that passengers may use for their electronic equipment. Some airline lounges employ , bartenders and gourmet chefs.

Airlines sometimes operate multiple lounges within the one airport terminal allowing ultra-premium customers, such as first class customers, additional services, which are not available to other premium customers. Multiple lounges may also prevent overcrowding of the lounge facilities.


Cargo and freight service
In addition to people, airports move cargo around the clock. 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. In addition cargo terminals are divided into distinct areas – export, import and interline or transshipment.


Access and onward travel
Airports require , for passengers who may leave the cars at the airport for a long period of time. Large airports will also have firms, , and sometimes a .

Many large airports are located near trunk routes for seamless connection of multimodal transport, for instance Frankfurt Airport, Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, London Heathrow Airport, Tokyo Haneda Airport, Tokyo Narita Airport, London Gatwick Airport and London Stansted Airport. It is also common to connect an airport and a city with , lines or other non-road public transport systems. Some examples of this would include the at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, Link Light Rail that runs from the heart of downtown to Seattle–Tacoma International Airport, and the Silver Line T at 's Logan International Airport by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA). Such a connection lowers risk of missed flights due to traffic congestion. Large airports usually have access also through controlled-access highways ('freeways' or 'motorways') from which motor vehicles enter either the departure loop or the arrival loop.


Internal transport
The distances passengers need to move within a large airport can be substantial. It is common for airports to provide , buses, and rail transport systems. Some airports like Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport and London Stansted Airport have a transit system that connects some of the gates to a main terminal. Airports with more than one terminal have a transit system to connect the terminals together, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport, Mexico City International Airport and London Gatwick Airport.


Airport operations
There are three types of surface that aircraft operate on:
  • , for and
  • , where planes "taxi" (transfer to and from a runway)
  • or ramp: a large concrete surface where planes are parked, loaded, unloaded or refuelled


Air traffic control
Air traffic control (ATC) is the task of managing aircraft movements and making sure they are safe, orderly and free of delays. At the largest airports, air traffic control is a series of highly complex operations that requires managing frequent traffic that moves in all three dimensions.

A "towered" or "controlled" airport has a control tower where the air traffic controllers are based. Pilots are required to maintain two-way radio communication with the controllers, and to acknowledge and comply with their instructions. A "non-towered" airport has no operating control tower and therefore two-way radio communications are not required, though it is good operating practice for pilots to transmit their intentions on the airport's common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) for the benefit of other aircraft in the area. The CTAF may be a Universal Integrated Community (UNICOM), MULTICOM, Flight Service Station (FSS), or tower frequency.

The majority of the world's airports are small facilities without a tower. Not all towered airports have 24/7 ATC operations. In those cases, non-towered procedures apply when the tower is not in use, such as at night. Non-towered airports come under area (en-route) control. Remote and virtual tower (RVT) is a system in which ATC is handled by controllers who are not present at the airport itself.

Air traffic control responsibilities at airports are usually divided into at least two main areas: ground and tower, though a single controller may work both stations. The busiest airports also have clearance delivery, apron control, and other specialized ATC stations.

Ground Control is responsible for directing all ground traffic in designated "", except the traffic on runways. This includes planes, baggage trains, , grass cutters, fuel trucks, stair trucks, airline food trucks, conveyor belt vehicles and other vehicles. Ground Control will instruct these vehicles on which taxiways to use, which runway they will use (in the case of planes), where they will park, and when it is safe to cross runways. When a plane is ready to takeoff it will stop short of the runway, at which point it will be turned over to Control. After a plane has landed, it will depart the runway and be returned to Ground Control.

Tower Control controls aircraft on the runway and in the controlled airspace immediately surrounding the airport. Tower controllers may use to locate an aircraft's position in three-dimensional space, or they may rely on pilot position reports and visual observation. They coordinate the sequencing of aircraft in the traffic pattern and direct aircraft on how to safely join and leave the circuit. Aircraft which are only passing through the airspace must also contact Tower Control in order to be sure that they remain clear of other traffic.


Traffic pattern
At all airports the use of a traffic pattern (often called a traffic circuit outside the U.S.) is possible. They may help to assure smooth traffic flow between departing and arriving aircraft. There is no technical need within modern aviation for performing this pattern, provided there is no queue. And due to the so-called SLOT-times, the overall traffic planning tend to assure landing queues are avoided. If for instance an aircraft approaches runway 17 (which has a heading of approx. 170 degrees) from the north (coming from 360/0 degrees heading towards 180 degrees), the aircraft will land as fast as possible by just turning 10 degrees and follow the , without orbit the runway for visual reasons, whenever this is possible. For smaller piston engined airplanes at smaller airfields without ILS equipment, things are very different though.

Generally, this pattern is a circuit consisting of five "legs" that form a rectangle (two legs and the runway form one side, with the remaining legs forming three more sides). Each leg is named (see diagram), and ATC directs pilots on how to join and leave the circuit. Traffic patterns are flown at one specific altitude, usually above ground level (AGL). Standard traffic patterns are left-handed, meaning all turns are made to the left. One of the main reason for this is that pilots sit on the left side of the airplane, and a Left-hand patterns improves their visibility of the airport and pattern. Right-handed patterns do exist, usually because of obstacles such as a , or to reduce noise for local residents. The predetermined circuit helps traffic flow smoothly because all pilots know what to expect, and helps reduce the chance of a mid-air collision.

At extremely large airports, a circuit is in place but not usually used. Rather, aircraft (usually only commercial with long routes) request approach clearance while they are still hours away from the airport, often before they even take off from their departure point. Large airports have a frequency called Clearance Delivery which is used by departing aircraft specifically for this purpose. This then allows aircraft to take the most direct approach path to the runway and land without worrying about interference from other aircraft. While this system keeps the airspace free and is simpler for pilots, it requires detailed knowledge of how aircraft are planning to use the airport ahead of time and is therefore only possible with large commercial airliners on pre-scheduled flights. The system has recently become so advanced that controllers can predict whether an aircraft will be delayed on landing before it even takes off; that aircraft can then be delayed on the ground, rather than wasting expensive fuel waiting in the air.


Navigational aids
There are a number of aids available to pilots, though not all airports are equipped with them. A visual approach slope indicator (VASI) helps pilots fly the approach for landing. Some airports are equipped with a VHF omnidirectional range (VOR) to help pilots find the direction to the airport. VORs are often accompanied by a distance measuring equipment (DME) to determine the distance to the VOR. VORs are also located off airports, where they serve to provide airways for aircraft to navigate upon. In poor weather, pilots will use an instrument landing system (ILS) to find the runway and fly the correct approach, even if they cannot see the ground. The number of instrument approaches based on the use of the Global Positioning System (GPS) is rapidly increasing and may eventually be the primary means for instrument landings.

Larger airports sometimes offer precision approach radar (PAR), but these systems are more common at military air bases than civilian airports. The aircraft's horizontal and vertical movement is tracked via radar, and the controller tells the pilot his position relative to the approach slope. Once the pilots can see the runway lights, they may continue with a visual landing.


Taxiway signs
Airport guidance signs provide direction and information to taxiing aircraft and airport vehicles. Smaller aerodromes may have few or no signs, relying instead on diagrams and charts.


Lighting
Many airports have that help guide planes using the runways and taxiways at night or in rain or .

On runways, green lights indicate the beginning of the runway for landing, while red lights indicate the end of the runway. Runway edge lighting consists of white lights spaced out on both sides of the runway, indicating the edge. Some airports have more complicated lighting on the runways including lights that run down the centerline of the runway and lights that help indicate the approach (an approach lighting system, or ALS). Low-traffic airports may use pilot controlled lighting to save electricity and staffing costs.

Along taxiways, blue lights indicate the taxiway's edge, and some airports have embedded green lights that indicate the centerline.


Weather observations
Weather observations at the airport are crucial to safe takeoffs and landings. In the US and Canada, the vast majority of airports, large and small, will either have some form of automated airport weather station, whether an AWOS, ASOS, or AWSS, a human observer or a combination of the two. These weather observations, predominantly in the format, are available over the radio, through automatic terminal information service (ATIS), via the ATC or the flight service station.

Planes take-off and land into the wind in order to achieve maximum performance. Because pilots need instantaneous information during landing, a is also kept in view of the runway. Aviation windsocks are made with lightweight material, withstand strong winds and are lit up after dark or in foggy weather. Because visibility of windsocks is limited, often multiple glow-orange windsocks are placed on both sides of the runway.


Airport ground crew (Ground Handling)
Most airports have handling the loading and unloading of passengers, crew, baggage and other services. Some groundcrew are linked to specific airlines operating at the airport.

Many ground crew at the airport work at the aircraft. A tow tractor pulls the aircraft to one of the airbridges, The ground power unit is plugged in. It keeps the electricity running in the plane when it stands at the terminal. The engines are not working, therefore they do not generate the electricity, as they do in flight. The passengers disembark using the airbridge. Mobile stairs can give the ground crew more access to the aircraft's cabin. There is a cleaning service to clean the aircraft after the aircraft lands. Flight catering provides the food and drinks on flights. A toilet waste truck removes the human waste from the tank which holds the waste from the toilets in the aircraft. A water truck fills the water tanks of the aircraft. A fuel transfer vehicle transfers aviation fuel from fuel tanks underground, to the aircraft tanks. A tractor and its dollies bring in luggage from the terminal to the aircraft. They also carry luggage to the terminal if the aircraft has landed, and is being unloaded. Hi-loaders lift the heavy luggage containers to the gate of the cargo hold. The ground crew push the luggage containers into the hold. If it has landed, they rise, the ground crew push the luggage container on the hi-loader, which carries it down. The luggage container is then pushed on one of the tractors dollies. The conveyor, which is a conveyor belt on a truck, brings in the awkwardly shaped, or late luggage. The airbridge is used again by the new passengers to embark the aircraft. The tow tractor pushes the aircraft away from the terminal to a taxi area. The length of time an aircraft remains on the ground in between consecutive flights is known as "turnaround time". Airlines pay great attention to minimizing turnaround times in an effort to keep aircraft utilization (flying time) high, with times scheduled as low as 25 minutes for jet aircraft operated by low-cost carriers on narrow-body aircraft.


Safety management
is an important concern in the operation of an airport, and almost every airfield includes equipment and procedures for handling emergency situations. Airport crash tender crews are equipped for dealing with airfield , crew and passenger extractions, and the hazards of highly flammable . The crews are also trained to deal with situations such as , hijacking, and activities.

Hazards to aircraft include debris, nesting , and reduced friction levels due to environmental conditions such as , , or . Part of runway maintenance is airfield rubber removal which helps maintain friction levels. The fields must be kept clear of debris using cleaning equipment so that loose material does not become a projectile and enter an engine duct (see foreign object damage). In adverse weather conditions, ice and snow clearing equipment can be used to improve traction on the landing strip. For waiting aircraft, equipment is used to spray special fluids on the wings.

Many airports are built near open fields or . These tend to attract bird populations, which can pose a hazard to aircraft in the form of . Airport crews often need to discourage birds from taking up residence.

Some airports are located next to parks, golf courses, or other low-density uses of land. Other airports are located near densely populated urban or suburban areas.

An airport can have areas where collisions between aircraft on the ground tend to occur. Records are kept of any where aircraft or vehicles are in an inappropriate location, allowing these "hot spots" to be identified. These locations then undergo special attention by transportation authorities (such as the FAA in the US) and airport administrators.

During the 1980s, a phenomenon known as became a growing concern due to aircraft accidents caused by microburst , such as Delta Air Lines Flight 191. radar was developed as an aid to safety during landing, giving two to five minutes' warning to aircraft in the vicinity of the field of a microburst event.

Some airfields now have a special surface known as soft concrete at the end of the runway ( or blastpad) that behaves somewhat like , bringing the plane to a relatively rapid halt as the material disintegrates. These surfaces are useful when the runway is located next to a body of water or other hazard, and prevent the planes from overrunning the end of the field.

Airports often have on-site firefighters to respond to emergencies. These use specialized vehicles, known as airport crash tenders.


Environmental concerns and sustainability
is a major cause of to residents living near airports. Sleep can be affected if the airports operate night and early morning flights. Aircraft noise not only occurs from take-off and landings, but also ground operations including maintenance and testing of aircraft. Noise can have other noise health effects. Other noise and environmental concerns are vehicle traffic causing noise and pollution on roads leading the airport.

The construction of new airports or addition of runways to existing airports, is often resisted by local residents because of the effect on countryside, historical sites, local and . Due to the risk of collision between birds and aircraft, large airports undertake population control programs where they frighten or shoot birds.

The construction of airports has been known to change local patterns. For example, because they often flatten out large areas, they can be susceptible to fog in areas where fog rarely forms. In addition, they generally replace and grass with pavement, they often change patterns in areas, leading to more , run-off and in the surrounding land.

Some of the airport administrations prepare and publish annual reports in order to show how they consider these environmental concerns in airport management issues and how they protect environment from airport operations. These reports contain all environmental protection measures performed by airport administration in terms of water, air, soil and noise pollution, resource conservation and protection of natural life around the airport.

A growing number of airports are installing solar arrays to offset their electricity use.Anurag et al. General Design Procedures for Airport-Based Solar Photovoltaic Systems. Energies Https://www.solarpowerworldonline.com/2016/03/7-cool-solar-installations-at-u-s-airports/< /ref> The National Renewable Energy Lab has shown this can be done safely.A. Kandt and R. Romero . Implementing Solar Technologies at Airports. NREL Report. Available: https://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy14osti/62349.pdf

The world's first airport to be fully powered by solar energy is located at Kochi, India. Another airport known for considering environmental parameters is the at Galapagos Islands.


Military airbase
An airbase, sometimes referred to as an air station or airfield, provides basing and support of military aircraft. Some airbases, known as military airports, provide facilities similar to their civilian counterparts. For example, RAF Brize Norton in the UK has a terminal which caters to passengers for the Royal Air Force's scheduled TriStar flights to the . Some airbases are co-located with civilian airports, sharing the same ATC facilities, runways, taxiways and emergency services, but with separate terminals, parking areas and hangars. Bardufoss Airport, Bardufoss Air Station in Norway and in India are examples of this.

An is a that functions as a mobile airbase. Aircraft carriers allow a to project without having to depend on local bases for land-based aircraft. After their development in World War I, aircraft carriers replaced the as the centrepiece of a modern during World War II.


Airport designation and naming
Airports are uniquely represented by their IATA airport code and ICAO airport code.

Most airport names include the location. Many airport names honour a , commonly a (e.g. Charles de Gaulle Airport), a like in Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, a cultural leader such as in Liverpool John Lennon Airport or a prominent figure in aviation history of the region (e.g. Sydney Kingsford Smith Airport), sometimes even famous poets (e.g. Allama Iqbal International Airport).

Some airports have unofficial names, possibly so widely circulated that its official name is little used or even known.

Some airport names include the word "International" to indicate their ability to handle international air traffic. This includes some airports that do not have scheduled international airline services (e.g. Albany International Airport).


History and development
The earliest aircraft takeoff and landing sites were grassy fields.
(2011). 9781430236771, Apress. .
The plane could approach at any angle that provided a favorable wind direction. A slight improvement was the dirt-only field, which eliminated the drag from grass. However, these only functioned well in dry conditions. Later, concrete surfaces would allow landings regardless of meteorological conditions.

The title of "world's oldest airport" is disputed, but College Park Airport in , US, established in 1909 by , is generally agreed to be the world's oldest continually operating airfield, although it serves only traffic. Bisbee-Douglas International Airport in was declared "the first international airport of the Americas" by US president Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. Pearson Field Airport in Vancouver, Washington, had a dirigible land in 1905 and planes in 1911 and is still in use.

opened in January 1911, making it the oldest commercial airport in the world which is still in operation. opened in 1913 and remains in use, although it served as an American military field between 1945 and 1949. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol opened on September 16, 1916, as a military airfield, but only accepted from December 17, 1920, allowing in , Australia—which started operations in January 1920—to claim to be one of the world's oldest continually operating commercial airports. Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport in Minneapolis-Saint Paul, , opened in 1920 and has been in continuous commercial service since. It serves about 35,000,000 passengers each year and continues to expand, recently opening a new 11,000 foot (3,355 meter) runway. Of the airports constructed during this early period in aviation, it is one of the largest and busiest that is still currently operating. Rome Ciampino Airport, opened 1916, is also a contender, as well as the Don Mueang International Airport near Bangkok, Thailand, which opened in 1914. Increased aircraft traffic during World War I led to the construction of landing fields. Aircraft had to approach these from certain directions and this led to the development of aids for directing the approach and landing slope.

Following the war, some of these military airfields added civil facilities for handling passenger traffic. One of the earliest such fields was Paris – Le Bourget Airport at , near . The first airport to operate scheduled international commercial services was Hounslow Heath Aerodrome in August 1919, but it was closed and supplanted by in March 1920.Bluffield (2009) In 1922, the first permanent airport and commercial terminal solely for commercial aviation was opened at Flughafen Devau near what was then Königsberg, East Prussia. The airports of this era used a paved "apron", which permitted night flying as well as landing heavier aircraft.

The first lighting used on an airport was during the latter part of the 1920s; in the 1930s approach lighting came into use. These indicated the proper direction and angle of descent. The colours and flash intervals of these lights became standardized under the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). In the 1940s, the slope-line approach system was introduced. This consisted of two rows of lights that formed a funnel indicating an aircraft's position on the glideslope. Additional lights indicated incorrect altitude and direction.

After World War II, airport design became more sophisticated. Passenger buildings were being grouped together in an island, with runways arranged in groups about the terminal. This arrangement permitted expansion of the facilities. But it also meant that passengers had to travel further to reach their plane.

An improvement in the landing field was the introduction of grooves in the concrete surface. These run perpendicular to the direction of the landing aircraft and serve to draw off excess water in rainy conditions that could build up in front of the plane's wheels.

Airport construction boomed during the 1960s with the increase in traffic. Runways were extended out to . The fields were constructed out of reinforced concrete using a slip-form machine that produces a continual slab with no disruptions along the length. The early 1960s also saw the introduction of jet bridge systems to modern airport terminals, an innovation which eliminated outdoor passenger boarding. These systems became commonplace in the United States by the 1970s.


Airports in entertainment
Airports have played major roles in films and television programs due to their very nature as a transport and international hub, and sometimes because of distinctive architectural features of particular airports. One such example of this is , a film about a man who becomes permanently grounded in an airport terminal and must survive only on the food and shelter provided by the airport. They are also one of the major elements in movies such as The V.I.P.s, Airplane!, Airport (1970), Die Hard 2, , Jackie Brown, Get Shorty, , , Passenger 57, Final Destination (2000), Unaccompanied Minors, Catch Me If You Can, Rendition and The Langoliers. They have also played important parts in television series like Lost, The Amazing Race, America's Next Top Model, Cycle 10 which have significant parts of their story set within airports. In other programmes and films, airports are merely indicative of journeys, e.g. Good Will Hunting.

Several computer simulation games put the player in charge of an airport. These include the series, SimAirport and Airport CEO.


Filming at airports
Most airports welcome filming on site, although it must be agreed in advance and may be subject to a fee. Landside, filming can take place in all public areas. However airside, filming is sometimes heavily restricted. To film in an airside location, all visitors must go through security, the same as passengers, and be accompanied by a full airside pass holder and have photographic identification with them at all times. Filming is strictly prohibited in security, immigration/customs and baggage reclaim.


Airport directories
Each national aviation authority has a source of information about airports in their country. This will contain information on airport elevation, airport lighting, runway information, communications facilities and frequencies, hours of operation, nearby and contact information where prior arrangement for landing is necessary.
  • Australia
Information can be found on-line in the En route Supplement Australia (ERSA) which is published by Airservices Australia, a government owned corporation charged with managing Australian ATC.

  • Brazil
Infraero is responsible for the airports in Brazil

  • Canada
Two publications, the Canada Flight Supplement (CFS) and the Water Aerodrome Supplement, published by under the authority of provides equivalent information.

  • Europe
The European Organisation for the Safety of Air Navigation (EUROCONTROL) provides an Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP), aeronautical charts and services for multiple European countries.

  • Germany
Provided by the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt (Federal Office for Civil Aviation of Germany).

  • France
Aviation Generale Delage edited by Delville and published by Breitling.

  • The United Kingdom and Ireland
The information is found in Pooley's Flight Guide, a publication compiled with the assistance of the United Kingdom Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). Pooley's also contains information on some continental European airports that are close to Great Britain. National Air Traffic Services, the UK's Air Navigation Service Provider, a public–private partnership also publishes an online AIP for the UK.

  • The United States
The U.S. uses the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD), published in seven volumes. also includes extensive airport data but has been unavailable to the public at large since 2006.

  • Japan
Aeronautical Information Publication (AIP) is provided by Japan Aeronautical Information Service Center, under the authority of Japan Civil Aviation Bureau, Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.
  • A comprehensive, consumer/business directory of commercial airports in the world (primarily for airports as businesses, rather than for pilots) is organized by the trade group Airports Council International.


See also
Lists:
  • Index of aviation articles
  • List of cities with more than one airport
  • List of countries without an airport
  • List of hub airports

  • Bluffield, Robert. 2009. Imperial Airways – The Birth of the British Airline Industry 1914–1940. Ian Allan
  • Salter, Mark. 2008. Politics at the Airport. University of Minnesota Press. This book brings together leading scholars to examine how airports both shape and are shaped by current political, social, and economic conditions.
  • Lopez, Donald S. "The inside Story Airports." Flight. Alexandria, VA: Time-Life, 1995. 36–37. Print.


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