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
: 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)
: 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
: 214 up to but not including 262 feet