Air travel is the fastest and safest mode of transport for passengers and cargo, which means that many people prefer it as opposed to other means. The need for convenient, secure, and quick transportation methods that support large loads has increased the demand for air travel (Maduwanthi et al., 2015). The influx has challenged airport management to design larger aircraft that can accommodate many people and ample cargo. As a result, newer and larger airplanes have been developed, and they have primarily impacted the design of airports. For instance, taxiways, gate capacities, baggage handling operations, and aircraft servicing are adjusted to handle larger aircraft. Therefore, newer and larger airplanes force aircraft designs to be expanded to handle the increased capacity.
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Effects on Airport Design
Large and new aircraft directly affect the airport designs by decreasing the durability of airport pavements. For instance, airport pavements have to be continuously repaired and replaced. Large airplanes are bulky, require long wingspans, demand sophisticated fueling systems, and travel at higher velocities compared to normal-sized ones. According to Sharma et al. (2015), light-weight aircraft have simple fuel structures, while heavy ones have complex systems, such as “integral type of fuel tanks” (p. 32). The height adversely affects the runaways since it creates pressure that results in wear and tears. Therefore, large aircraft decrease the durability of the runaways, especially in areas with thin concrete designed for medium and large planes.
Firstly, the runaway length of airports is a vital element that is mostly affected by large aircraft since they should be expanded to accommodate the new planes. In most airways, the runways are often short since they harbor light and medium planes. These runway lengths can hardly support larger aircraft, which have higher take-off times as opposed to the smaller ones. Airport management cannot afford to risk passengers and cargo in the runways since the short ones destroy airfield structures and disturb aero thrusts during landing (Daidzic, 2016). Thus, the size of tracks is crucial in accommodating large aircraft to reduce the likelihood of accidents, which is already present with light airplanes.
Expanding the runway length is the best way of solving the issue. Airports that wish to have large planes should devise ways of increasing their runways. However, those with limited spaces should decline the large aircraft. Moreover, airplane manufacturers should develop advanced designs that would allow aircraft to accelerate and land easily without covering vast distances. The innovation would be useful in saving costs and time needed to expand runways, which averts accidents and wastage of resources.
Secondly, runway shoulders are affected when airways adopt large planes. They handle intermittent passages of airplanes that deviate from the runways. For instance, the runway shoulders provide blast erosion resistance and harbor emergency and maintenance passages. Most airlines have designs that support light and medium aircraft. The large and heavy planes would damage the current models. The issue can be resolved by enhancing the design of the runway shoulders and employing monitoring schedules to detect problems quickly. Most of these designs cannot be expanded, which means that airlines should devise new and durable fittings that are not easily damaged by large aircraft. Supervising the runway shoulders would ensure that management fixes the problems before they escalate to unmanageable levels.
Thirdly, the runway widths are affected since the lighting systems of pavements should be adjusted. The introduction of large aircraft means that airlines should increase illumination to ensure that the planes do not cause accidents and can navigate with ease. Airways have adequate lighting systems for light and medium jets, which means that large planes would face challenges in the current setting. Incorporating advanced lighting systems would aver accidents. The broad planes require excellent illumination since they have large wings that can damage pavements with poor visibility. Furthermore, airlines with extra spaces should consider widening the pavements to support large airplanes. These measures would ensure smooth operations when the new aircraft are introduced in airlines.
Fourthly, runway stops should be improved when large planes are developed. The runway stops enable deceleration when airways reschedule the intended take-offs. The current designs support the medium planes, which have low velocity and require to travel short distances in the runways. However, the large planes cover lengthy distances, need stable and rough tracks to persevere the friction that stops the planes. Runway stops made with non-durable materials quickly wear off and require regular maintenance, which is expensive and time-consuming.
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Stopping an already-moving medium aircraft is challenging, which means that large airplanes pose additional problems to runway stops. The surfaces should be replaced with durable materials to withstand the friction to stop large moving planes. Another way would be to automate the aircraft to reduce the deceleration rate. These measures would reduce the resources and time needed to maintain runway stops and support large planes.
Lastly, another area of focus is the runway blast pads that shield airplanes from blast erosions, which should be improved to reinforce the large planes. The medium aircraft have speed jets that do not put high pressure on pathways. However, the broad planes are heavy and bulky, and their top speeds impact increased pressure that cannot be absorbed by the current blast pads. Additionally, the acceleration can cause other elements, such as cargo and debris, to destroy nearby property and cause injury to workers. The situation calls for long-lasting blast pads that can support the high speeds of large planes. The current design of the blast pads needs to change to accommodate the large planes. For example, the blast pads should be made with durable material to ensure their durability. Additionally, their width and length should be increased to provide the best protection when the acceleration from large planes sets nearby objects in motion.
Effects on Apron Separators and Taxiways
The design of airport taxiways cannot support large planes in their current statuses. Taxiways are airliner paths that allow movement around the flight strips. These paths connect with aprons, hanger terminals, and other subsidiary accessories. The taxiways are built using asphalt, concrete, and grass, especially in airways with small airplanes. These current designs can only accommodate light and medium aircraft. For instance, they do not have adequate space to allow planes with large wings since they can intrude on safety areas within the taxiways and cause accidents. Moreover, the width of the taxiways supports single crafts. Furthermore, Brownlee et al. (2018) argue that airways already suffer from the Ground Movement problem, which involves the lack of “allocating efficient routes to taxiing aircrafts” (p. 150). Introducing larger airplanes exacerbates the issue and strains the efficiency of airlines.
The issue of adequate aircraft taxiways can be solved in several ways. For example, the taxiways should be adjusted to become useful for large crafts. In places with adjacent taxiways, significant separation is required to avoid large airplanes from colliding due to their elongated wings. However, many airports do not have extra spaces to accommodate expansion. Currently, the unreliability of the taxiways slows processes, which means that aircraft miss their assigned designated places at the runways and often waste unnecessary fuel in the waiting line (Brownlee et al., 2018). Another effective way would be to ensure that the standard clearing of airplanes adheres to its policies and duties by being efficient in reducing the waiting line, which forces airlines to incur additional costs. Additionally, separation standards during construction and repairs are crucial by installing monitoring systems that use modern technology.
Taxiway shoulders avert jet blast erosions and issues with engine egestion, which are available for medium aircraft. Large planes have mounted engines that hang on their wings, which implies that the produced blasts would go beyond the capabilities of the current taxiway shoulders. The situation would lead to damages to the airport signs, lights, and surrounding objects. The problem could be solved by encouraging the aircraft manufacturers to design planes that would turn off their outer engines while on the airline taxiways. Moreover, widening the taxiway shoulders would be useful in preventing damages, especially to nearby planes.
Airport apron separators are affected by the introduction of large planes since their current sizes are suitable for medium ones. Aprons are areas where crafts are parked, refilled, loaded, and unloaded, but they belong to the taxiway system (Mirkovic & Tosic, 2013). The separators are accessible to customers, but their sizes would not allow them to serve their purposes when large planes are introduced in airports. Currently, many airlines have established programmed flow, which limits any extra space for expansion. Additionally, the airports have well-designed structures, which implies that relocating the apron separators to other areas would cause confusion and disrupt normal operations.
Similarly, the holding bays would suffer the same problem. The broad planes would congest the fields, which harbor planes before take-off when awaiting clearance. The most efficient method of addressing the issue would be for airlines to operate a few crafts at a time to avoid congestion. Additionally, enlarging the holding bays would be a possibility, but the large planes would pose challenges based on the current spaces of the airports. However, the recommendation would result in increased traffic and delays. Still, modernizing the flow would help in controlling the transportation and security of the passengers and cargo. Moreover, introducing cranes would help in lifting cargo, and the conveyor belts would help in ferrying light cargo. The approaches would ease the congestion of both passengers and goods.
Gating and Baggage Handling Capacities
Baggage handling and gating capacities are directly impacted by the introduction of large planes in airports. These planes require expanded hubs to accommodate their full-body shapes. The gates are designated areas where aircraft are parked when being loaded. Currently, airports suffer from the Gate Assignment Problem (GAP) due to congestion (Kumar & Bierlaire, 2014). The larger planes would need expanded gates to support their bodies and also make operations efficient. Therefore, airport management should invest additional funds to adjust the gates to allow large planes to operate with ease.
The number of airport gates is also affected by large-sized airplanes since big airports need extra barriers to support smooth operations. The techniques of determining the number of gates necessary are highly dependent on the size of aircraft, which means that most airports reference medium and light crafts in their decision-making processes. When large planes are introduced, the number of people waiting to get their luggage and cargo often rises. The surge means that traffic issues are inevitable at the gates and baggage handling sites. Passenger congestion increases and the luggage and cargo require more space than the current one in medium planes. Larger planes call for an increased number of gates to address the high number of customers.
The adoption of large planes could also impact the public corridors that lead to the gates. Passengers are always circulating in these corridors to acquire their tickets and claim their luggage. In most cases, these spaces are small, and the introduction of large planes would cause congestion as a high number of customers to struggle to move to board their airplanes. Extending the corridors and eliminating objects, such as telephones and suggestion boxes, would create space to handle the new traffic.
Large planes result in increased luggage security due to the high number of people and cargo. Airports have various security terminals to inspect passengers and cargo. Since large jets increase the number of customers, airports would be forced to install more security terminals. Even in medium-sized crafts, issues of luggage theft are common. The cases are expected to rise when the carrying capacity of the aircraft increases. Airlines would be required to adopt advanced technology to screen people and goods effectively and to reduce the need for hiring additional employees. The technology would increase the operating costs of the airports.
Impacts on Aircraft Servicing Operations
Aircraft require regular servicing to ensure their durability, but the introduction of large planes causes congestion and delays. Large airplanes require an increased runway and servicing spaces, which comprise the “most stringent constraints for growth” in airports (Dray, 2020). Additionally, the giant crafts require equal spare parts that need additional areas for storage and the workforce. Spare parts for large airplanes would have to be designed, which would increase their demand. In this regard, airlines would be forced to establish mobile service bays for large planes since expanding the maintenance areas would be difficult and costly. The approach would avert the disruption of the existing servicing bays since the introduction of large plans does not mean that the medium and light ones should be eliminated. Therefore, the need for optimization in aircraft servicing operations is high to avoid losses, delays, and likelihoods of accidents from faulty airplanes.
The introduction of newer and larger aircraft adversely affects airport management due to the high costs of expansions and extensions. The airplanes require large spaces, and many airports do not have adequate ones to accommodate medium-sized crafts. Additionally, the airlines would plan to use durable materials to support their infrastructure since the large planes are often substantial. The need for renovations and repair increases with the introduction of new and large aircraft. Larger planes could generate more revenue than the medium and light ones, but the operational, maintenance, and servicing costs outweigh the benefits. Conclusively, airport management should be prepared financially to accommodate, operate, and maintain large aircraft.
Brownlee, A. E. I., Weiszer, M., Chen, J., Ravizza, S., Woodward, J. R., & Burke, E. K. (2018). A fuzzy approach to addressing uncertainty in airport ground movement optimization. Transportation Research Part C: Emerging Technologies, 92, 150-175. Web.
Daidzic, N. E. (2016). Determination of rejected landing roll runway point-of-no-return and go-around in transport category airplanes. International Journal of Aviation, Aeronautics, and Aerospace, 3(1), 1-31. Web.
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Dray, L. (2020). An empirical analysis of airport capacity expansion. Journal of Air Transport Management, 87. Web.
Kumar, V. P., & Bierlaire, M. (2014). Multi-objective airport gate assignment problem in planning and operations. Journal of Advanced Transportation, 48(7), 902-926. Web.
Maduwanthi, R. A. M., Marasinghe, A., Rajapakse, R. P. C., Dharmawansa, A. D., & Nomura, S. (2015). Factors influencing travel behavior on transport mode choice. International Journal of Affective Engineering, 15(2), 63-72. Web.
Mirkovic, B., & Tosic, V. (2013). Airport apron capacity: estimation, representation, and flexibility. Journal of Advanced Transportation, 48(2), 97-118. Web.
Sharma, S., Singh, P., Sinha, R., & Kaurase, K. P. (2015). Review of aircraft fuel system. International Journal of Advance Research and Innovative Ideas in Education, 1(1), 32-38.