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Sample infrastructure of an airport
Airport distribution in 2008
Part of Terminal 3 of the Dubai International Airport

An airport is an aerodrome with facilities for commercial aviation flights to take off and land.[༡][༢] 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[༣] or a helipad,[༤] and often includes adjacent utility buildings such as control towers, hangars [༥] 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 airport with a helipad for rotorcraft but no runway is called a heliport. An airport for use by seaplanes and amphibious aircraft is called a Seaplane base. Such a base typically includes a stretch of open water for takeoffs and landings, and seaplane docks for tying-up.

An international airport has additional facilities for customs and immigration.

In warfare, airports can become the focus of intense fighting, for example the Battle of Tripoli Airport or the Battle for Donetsk Airport, both taking place in 2014. An airport primarily for military use is called an airbase or air station.

Most of the world's airports are owned by local, regional, or national government bodies.

Landside and airside areas[ཞུན་དག།]

Airports are divided into landside and airside. Landside includes parking lots, public transport railway stations and access roads. Airside includes all areas accessible to aircraft, including runways, taxiways and ramps. Access from landside to airside is tightly controlled at all airports, in order to acess airside you must go through passport control and security.

Most major airports provide commercial outlets for products and services. Airports may also contain premium and VIP services. The premium and VIP services may include express check-in and dedicated check-in counters. In addition to people, airports move cargo around the clock. Many large airports are located near railway trunk routes.

Air traffic control presence[ཞུན་དག།]

Commercial Jets wait for the "7am hold" to pass before departing from John Wayne Airport, Feb 14, 2015

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 US 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.


Air bridges at Oslo Airport from an Icelandair Boeing 757-200

The terms aerodrome, airfield, and airstrip may also be used to refer to airports, and the terms heliport, seaplane base, and STOLport refer to airports dedicated exclusively to helicopters, seaplanes, or short take-off and landing aircraft.


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