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What Size Boxes Do Airliners Need At Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 8:27 am

I read on another post that the A380 and the 747 require an 80m x 80m "box" at a passenger terminal.

What box sizes are required for other aircrafts? I feel like designing an airport in CAD, so thats why I need the numbers!

Side question: How wide is a runway? And how much spacing do I need between parallel runways?
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RE: What Size Boxes Do Airliners Need At Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 8:33 am

The 80x80m is not a gate size requirement. The airport authorities simply said that 80x80m was the maximum size they would accept in a new airliner. The proposed A389 is thus about 79.9x80m (lengthxspan).

The box required for gates and ground handling is probably bigger, but I don't know how much.

Runways for heavies should be wide enough that the engines don't get FODded, so I'm guessing 60+ metres at larger airports.

"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
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RE: What Size Boxes Do Airliners Need At Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 8:48 am

For info - Heathrow's 27L is 3751m X 50m - 27R is 3902m X 50m - 23 is 1966m X 45m.

The width beween parallel runways depends on who built them!

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RE: What Size Boxes Do Airliners Need At Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 9:10 am

To find the box requirement, just take the wingspan measurement for the class of aircraft that you would like to make gates for and add some clearance space on each side. For instance, A 737-800 has a wingspan of about 41 meters. So, a box that is like 45 meters wide would give you about 2 meters on each side, and then a total of 4 meters between parked aircraft...assuming of the same type are parked next to each other. I am not sure what exactly is commonly considered adequate spacing between aircraft as you must juggle both safety with putting enough gates on your concourse.
As for the runway seperation, I think that it is somewhere in the range of 3500 feet, about 1070 meters. I don't know the exact distance specified by the FAA, but it is in that vicinity I believe. I guess that it is just up to you if you prefer parallel runway configurations like at LAX or ATL with an inbound and an outbound pair for seperating landings and takeoffs or spreading all of them out, like at DEN.
Either way, hope that you have fun with your airport. I used to do the same stuff all the time. It can be a lot of fun...just don't forget that things like roadways, car parks, etc. are part of the airport too! It's also nice getting to use any piece of land and not having to worry about wind patterns in the area...or complaints from those darn NIMBYs!  Smile
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RE: What Size Boxes Do Airliners Need At Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 10:32 am

I received the following information from a gentleman at LA World Airports about a year ago:


Area 1-Gate Space

You stated that you were interested in the differences that may exist between gates in terms of the size of aircraft that can be served by a particular jetway or terminal configuration.

When planning a new facility, you would attempt to match the terminal design and equipment to the size aircraft that would be using your facility. Factors to consider include the size of your airport, small, medium or large hub, type of passengers using your airport, business or leisure, type of operations, originating and destination, international or transfer passengers. This information would allow you to plan on how many gates or aircraft parking positions would be required and the daily gate utilization. Whether the aircraft would power-in and power-out, or tow-in and push back are determined by size of the apron, number operations and the amount of time the aircraft is scheduled on the ground. Additional factors, such as fueling and servicing equipment requirements would be have to be factored into the planning process.

As to any hard and fast differentiations between jetway equipped gates that would limit or allow different sizes of aircraft; for the most part most all of our jetways will fit most aircraft types. However, with that said, there are a number of factors that come into play to dispute that statement. Loading bridge construction will vary from fixed pedestal, apron driven or suspended types. Each type will advantages or disadvantages depending on the type of operations. Once a loading bridge is installed, apron dimensions, docking procedures, aircraft wingspan, aircraft door locations, fixed aircraft services (fuel and water) and adjacent aircraft positions are all factors that must be considered when considering a new type of aircraft.

As to particular models of jetways, the newer regional jets require jetway modifications because of interface with the aircraft fuselage and low door heights. Larger aircraft may require modifications to the travel limit switches and in some cases, certain configurations to not allow jetway movement to all the aircraft doors. This may interfere with the boarding and disembarking procedures prefer by the individual airlines.

Reference the issue of large aircraft into alleys, there are a number of factors to consider. There are strict standards as to size of an aircraft and its operating requirements. Once an aircraft can physically fit in a particular area, operating factors such as jet blast, traffic flow and operating economics may come into play.

For planning purposes at airports, aircraft are placed into design groups ranging from Group I through Group VI. The wingspan of the aircraft will determine which group an aircraft is placed.

Group I: up to and including 49 feet
(Small jets-Learjet)
Group II: 49 feet up to but not including 79 feet
(Regional Jets- later models are growing in size)
Group III: 79 feet up to but not including 118 feet
(DC-9, B-737, A-320)
Group IV: 118 feet up to but not including 171 feet.
(B-757, B767, DC-10)
Group V: 171 feet up to but not including 214 feet
(B-777, B-747)
Group VI: 214 up to but not including 262 feet
( NLA A-380)
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RE: What Size Boxes Do Airliners Need At Airports?

Wed Aug 11, 2004 3:16 pm

Don't forget to put more "buffer zone" between smaller aircraft (ie. RJ's and turboprops)! Equipment may be able to drive a bit under the wings of a widebody or an A320, but you will have no luck getting under a CRJ's wings! If you do decide to design an RJ terminal in your airport design, make sure you put a lot of space between aircraft. I used to work in Mesaba's concourse at MSP and although it is a nice design, we can barely get anything in between the aircraft, as you cannot get anything under the wings. Other airlines in the rest of the airport working with gates designed for narrowbody aircraft do not have to deal with this as much.
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RE: What Size Boxes Do Airliners Need At Airports?

Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:29 am

All the reference material you need to design an airport to FAA specifications are here:

You are looking for Advisory Circular AC150/5300-13 titled "Airport Design" (about halfway down the whole webpage)

As InnocuousFox has stated, aircraft are grouped into different groups by wingspan. The size group your airport expects to handle determines the minimum distances between runways, taxiways/taxilanes, gates sizes, etc.

Again it's all in the advisory circular.

Then after you get the general layout of your airport figured out. There are AC's which talk about specifics: runway markings, lighting specs, terminal design, what kind of concrete to use in your runway, drainage, etc....

Woodreau / KMVL

Hmm.... lots of people designing airports all of a sudden (the ALSF approach light spacing question.)
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