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filipinoavgeek
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When and why did parallel parking jetways die out?

Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:53 am

As seen in this picture, where some of the planes are parked parallel (as opposed to perpendicular or at an angle, as is the norm in today's airports):
Image

Such an arrangement was common (but apparently not universal) in the 1960s and perhaps into the 1970s, but as far as I call tell is no longer used today. Apparently at the time it was done to allow the plane to park and go under its own power instead of relying on tugs. Why and when did this jetway arrangement die out, and do any airports still use this parallel boarding arrangement today? Note that what I'm talking about is not to be confused with dual-jetway boarding, which is still commonly used today, I'm specifically talking about this arrangement where the plane is parked parallel to the concourse and two jetbridges (one at the front and one at the back) are used to load and unload the aircraft.
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Starlionblue
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Re: When and why did parallel parking jetways die out?

Mon Oct 19, 2020 5:26 am

Can't answer "when", by I suspect sometime in the early 70s.

"Why?" Primarily it is inefficient in terms of space. For comparison, look at HKG's satellite terminal (pre-bridge). Similar total footprint but you can park three additional aircraft without even using the north side. (Two of the bays are unoccupied in this picture.) I know an A321 is smaller than a 707 so it isn't quite apples to apples, but I bet you can get much more passenger throughput in the new design.

Another two factors come into play:
- I imagine those long jetbridges were quite costly and maintenance intensive. Granted, tugs aren't free either but you don't need one tug per bay.
- Ground staff has to cover quite long distances compared with most gates today, especially after finishing a turn and going to another bay.

Image
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Horstroad
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Re: When and why did parallel parking jetways die out?

Mon Oct 19, 2020 1:28 pm

filipinoavgeek wrote:
do any airports still use this parallel boarding arrangement today?

FRA still has 3 such gates. The aircraft taxi in, turn about 90° to the right and stop parallel to the terminal. They then can taxi out on their own power.
They only use one jetway though.

Image
 
FGITD
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Re: When and why did parallel parking jetways die out?

Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:32 pm

Looks to me like it's just simply a waste of space and creates a higher risk of hitting something. I'm not totally convinced all of those aircraft in the original photo were able to taxi in either, especially the one mid-right side.

The parallel parking was definitely a holdover of the prop days and by the looks of things, it took a while to figure out the best way to use jetbridges

Nosing in I would think is safer and more controlled. No need to worry about ground handling of one aircraft when the one next to you is about to blast everything away as it taxis out. No wings sticking out near taxiways, etc
 
bohica
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Re: When and why did parallel parking jetways die out?

Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:36 am

FGITD wrote:
I'm not totally convinced all of those aircraft in the original photo were able to taxi in either, especially the one mid-right side.

I was once on a UA DC-8 arriving in SFO that shut down in the alleyway and was towed into a parallel gate. I assume the plane you are referencing was towed in as well.

Parallel gates were only good for planes like the 707 and DC-8. Smaller jets like the 727 and DC-9 didn't have rear doors you could put a jetway to so it made no sense to park them parallel to the terminal. While you might be able to put a jetway to the rear door of a 737, two jetways on a 737 would be overkill. It just made more sense to nose them in.

Given the space required to taxi in and taxi out of parallel gates, you could easily nose in three, maybe four planes in the same space as two parallel gates.
 
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DL_Mech
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Re: When and why did parallel parking jetways die out?

Tue Oct 20, 2020 1:00 am

Drivable jetways puts a lot of pressure on the reliability of the jetways. If a tug breaks, you get another one. If the jetway breaks, you wait for technicians to move it away from the airplane.
This plane is built to withstand anything... except a bad pilot.

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e38
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Re: When and why did parallel parking jetways die out?

Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:18 pm

filipinoavgeek, for all the reasons above; this arrangement of parking aircraft was not efficient and did not optimize the use of available space. As airlines continued to take delivery of aircraft and expand routes, airports were not able to expand as quickly and nose-in parking provided additional parking capability, reduced the number of airline personnel needed to work the flights, and did not appreciably increase the amount of time to unload and load an airliner. The parallel parking arrangement sometimes required significant thrust to maneuver the aircraft which could damage ground equipment if not properly secured or stowed.

For the most part, it was a hold-over from the pre-jet era and not extensively used in the United States. To the best of my knowledge, this parking arrangement was only used by United (first), then TWA at New York (IDL), Chicago, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

There is excellent information concerning the history of the upper level boarding ramp; i.e., jetbridge or jetway, at airporthistory.org.

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Weatherwatcher1
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Re: When and why did parallel parking jetways die out?

Tue Oct 20, 2020 8:58 pm

FGITD wrote:
Looks to me like it's just simply a waste of space and creates a higher risk of hitting something. I'm not totally convinced all of those aircraft in the original photo were able to taxi in either, especially the one mid-right side.

The parallel parking was definitely a holdover of the prop days and by the looks of things, it took a while to figure out the best way to use jetbridges

Nosing in I would think is safer and more controlled. No need to worry about ground handling of one aircraft when the one next to you is about to blast everything away as it taxis out. No wings sticking out near taxiways, etc


Damaging the airplanes is a big risk. Tight turns at slow speeds can require differential thrust or differential braking. It doesn’t take much (snow, ice, rain, wind, etc) for the airplane to skid. Not only does it destroy the tires, but puts the airplane at risk of contact with ground equipment. Even the slowest speed contact can cause a days or weeks of out of service time for repairs.

Circular terminals on peninsulas have fallen out of favor due to risk of damage since they usually require tight maneuvers. Simple 90 degree turns reduce the risk of an airplane hitting another airplane or ground equipment. That’s why we see modern airports typically favor satellite terminals and straight concourses.

The piers at EWR for example are notorious for airplanes coming into contact with each other as well as having gates that require a tug to bring the plane in.

Image

Source: https://www.airport-ewr.com/newark

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