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Blocked Off Gates

Sat Sep 01, 2007 9:55 pm

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Photo © EDDL Photography

If you take a close look at the photograph above you will see a picture of EGLL. The most bottom gate in the picture appears to be completely blocked off and inaccessible by aircraft. Even if an aircraft were able to "gate" there it surely would be an obstruction for taxing aircraft.

What is the purpose of that gate? Emergency use?


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RE: Blocked Off Gates

Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:12 am

Don't know for sure but I can offer some speculation I've seen from elsewhere in the world.

Yes, airport terminals need fire escapes just like any other public building so some stairways from the boarding lounges to the apron serve in that role. They may or may not be used for routine passage of employees between terminal and apron.

The gate in this picture looks like it has two unused jetways. Possibly on the drawing board they were intended for regular use but when you lay the building down on the airport, it would indeed restrict that taxiway nearest us. Without that bit of apron being usable for east-west taxiing, there would be great difficulty passing an eastbound and westbound aircraft anywhere on the south side of the terminal complex without using runway 9R-27L. I would surmise that the space is more useful therefore as an equipment park.

Another possibility is just plain bad planning, a malady known to strike airport managment from time to time.

When Reno Nevada built their much-needed new terminal they poured a footer for one of those huge floodlight towers directly beneath a door intended to serve as a jetway. Had the light been installed it would have passed right up through the jetway.

One problem we face here in the US is too much money. Airport authorities in many cases are simply awash in money from "user charges." (while the ailrines serving them are in bankruptcy) One airport manager I know does not answer to city, county or state government, he is sovereign, and answers to the Feds only in the area of air operations. He pays himself more than the governor of his state plus the governors of the four surrounding states earn combined. They are forever starting new construction projects, needed or not, because they have to dispose of money. Not all of their projects are compatible with the others and we occasionally end up with doors leading nowhere as in your picture.

Ironic isn't it that if passenger traffic mandated that they begin using that gate they would have to restrict air traffic to do so?
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RE: Blocked Off Gates

Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:20 am

My guess is that the particular gate was used at one point, but due to what looks like a new taxiway there it no longer qualifies as a gate.

I remember at one point that there were a few gates in ATL that were not used simply due to lack of spacing between them. So they use that area as a storage area for unused baggage carts, tugs, belt loaders. Unused gates, even at the busiest of airports are common.

I tried pulling up an overhead on google maps, but it doesn't show anything unusual so maybe that was a thing of the past.

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RE: Blocked Off Gates

Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:26 am

Google Earth (image dated 2007) shows a Star Alliance (United AL) aircraft at this gate. It looks as if the end of that arm of the terminal has now been removed and the taxiway repositioned, making this gate unusable.

It now appears to be marked out as a parking area for ramp vehicles. The airbridges have not been removed, so maybe it could be reactivated if necessary.
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RE: Blocked Off Gates

Sun Sep 02, 2007 12:30 am

blocked off gates are a very common occurence. we've been doing it all summer for ramp repairs, jetway repairs and now will begin to have our jetways re-carpetted. it's not the same as completely shutting down a gate as above but it's not all too disimilar.

if you look in the right corner of this picture:

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Photo © Ron Peel

gate 1 which right now has a single DHC-8 parked at is used to serve much larger airplanes. when our terminal was built in the 80's there was a hangar that blocked access to the gate for a while. you can see what i mean in this shot:

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Photo © Art Brett - Photovation Images

in the second photo, if you look above the central terminal building you'll see 2 large hangars. there used to be 3, the last one closest to the US terminal was torn down to make gate 1 usable.
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