Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Short walk terminal building.

Design air terminal building so that passengers do not have to walk forever to get to the plane.
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This is so simple I can't believe it has not been done, well partly done at Washington anyway.

Build airports with parallel runways and build terminal building below ground level.

Car parks, bus and train connections etc are all under ground, they often are anyway.

Plane taxies from runway and stops on terminal roof.

Passengers, freight and services come up on a lift platform or escalator etc.

Planes taxies forward towards the take off runway.

Advantages, 'gates' are much closer together so much less walking along endless terminal building 'fingers'.

No need to push back laden aircraft.

It MUST have been done somewhere but I can only find partial implementations of this principle.

KiwiJohn, Dec 04 2003

Mobile Lounges http://www.virtualt...entries/000024.html
It seems that Eero Saarinen didn't want you to walk much at the airport either. [Laughs Last, Oct 04 2004]


       Dangnation! I think I posted this in the wrong place! [glum]
KiwiJohn, Dec 04 2003

       I'm in favor of building underground in general, but I'm only reluctantly giving you a croissant here because I loooove moving sidewalks. They help me prove Dan Hartman wrong.
darksasami, Dec 04 2003

       //at Washington//   

       National? Dulles? Or is this in WA State?
thumbwax, Dec 04 2003

       OK, I thought it was Washington, I had to change planes there once on a trip between JFK and Baltimore. Sorry I don't know many US cities (wish I knew more).   

       That airport has two terminal buildings facing each other with the planes in between with a very wide pedestrian walking space below ground, if I recall it is almost possible to go from any gate to any other gate in a straight line, diagionally etc.
KiwiJohn, Dec 04 2003

       Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport is designed somewhat along these lines, but due to sheer size you still end up walking miles upon miles. The entire pedestrian corridor including the trams is underground, and passes right under the taxiways between the concourses.
krelnik, Dec 04 2003

       Maybe I'm missing it, but how would the gates be closer together? The gates at the airports I've seen are spaced out so that the wingtips of each plane don't hit other planes. And there could be only one row of gates as the lift/jetway would prevent taxiing from behind the first row.
GenYus, Dec 04 2003

       You have caught me there GenYus, I was imagining them being closer because there would not be the protruding terminal fingers.   

       I must find an excuse to visit Atlanta.
KiwiJohn, Dec 04 2003

       Just fly anywhere in the US on Delta, you'll have to transfer in Atlanta.
krelnik, Dec 04 2003

       One solution would be to put the concourses and all underneath the tarmac, and provide elevators, or stairs to get to the plane. All aircraft park atop where the passengers check-in, await departure/arrival, etc. ...
Letsbuildafort, Dec 04 2003

       Atlanta is one of the most efficiently designed airports I know. I wonder why the concept was not copied anywhere else.   

       [Kiwi], no need to excavate (unless it happens to be convenient). Just build everything single level on the ground and make the roof strong enough to support the planes. It certainly would be a big space saver.   

       I don't see how your design shortens the walkways, but a long skinny terminal would make it easy to connect everything with those moving belts or a train; just like Atlanta.
kbecker, Dec 04 2003

       Aircraft problems, when they do occur, frequently do so during take-off and landing. With this set-up, any impact scenario results in the aircraft crashing into the terminal. That seems a good enough reason not to do this, and likely why it hasn't been done.
waugsqueke, Dec 04 2003

       Next: Airport Sedgeways
FloridaManatee, Dec 05 2003

       Reducing the space requirements for airports could be useful, independent of allowing people to get less exercise. Toward that end, I would offer a couple more suggestions:   

       [1] If aircraft design permits, build alternating gates with upramps and downramps to allow planes to be placed with overlapping wingtips. Alternatively, design alternate gates for styles of aircraft whose wings are different heights off the ground.   

       [2] An even higher-density approach would be to construct a two-level airport, with a taxiway ramp leading up to the upper level. The required support weight for a runway would be unreasonable, but a structure strong enough to support a taxiing airplane should not be a problem.   

       [3] The mobile lounges at Dulles are today used mainly as oversized shuttle buses to take people among the terminals. But for a carrier like SouthWest the mobile lounges could be useful if there was a fueling station near the runway where the plane could swap be refueled while passengers were going in and out. Such an approach might shave five minutes off the turnaround time (which Southwest already makes amazingly short).
supercat, Dec 19 2004


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