New Large Aircraft (NLA) or New Generation Large Aircraft (NGLA) are the future of long distance air travel. With current air craft size reaching unknown proportions to humankind, airports that are interested in attracting future business as well as the revenue the large amount of passengers per flight may generate, will have to adapt their installations to the demanding needs of these supersized vehicles. The following paper will focus on the new Airbus A380 and the requirements that airports inviting this magnificent work of engineering to use their installations will need to meet.
Airbus announces the Airbus A380 as “greener, cleaner, quieter, smarter: the A380 is a game changer in terms of aircraft performance, cost efficiency, comfort and sustainable growth” (2012). The A380 is an incredible double-decker aircraft, capable of carrying 400 to 800 passengers per flight, with a range of close to 16.000KM, a wing span of 79.75 meters, measuring 72 meters long and 24 meters high. If we take into account the fact that it has a maximum landing weight of 386 tones and a maximum take-off weight of 560, airports have remodeled, or are going to in the near future, terminals, baggage claim areas, taxiway configuration and maintenance, as well as runway specifications. Most international airports that serve as long-distance hubs can accept the Boeing 747-400, the previous superjumbo that was the biggest aircraft before the A380’s entrance.
According to Vincent, Heathrow International Airport in London, Great Britain, has invested as much as $845 million in re-modulation and improvements (2005). All modifications are aimed at including 4 gates (due to the aircrafts unconventional height) in Terminal 3 and the “new T5 will have a total of 14 gates equipped for the A380” (Vincent, 2005, p.3). The writer also underlines that US airports such as “Los Angeles International Airport will add six new airfield buses…with a capacity of up to 140 passengers….as part of a $10 million project”; San Francisco International Airport has also been “redesigning its new International Terminal to accommodate the A380” (Vincent, 2005, p. 3). Airport design has always been an important part of any renovation project or new construction, yet even more light has been shed on this part of the process as the A380 and future models will require larger gates, bigger hangers and improved baggage-collection and passenger transport services. Yeaman states that “due to the aircraft’s high passenger volume…gate hold rooms may have to double in size, concourses need to be widened and capacity of ticket processing and customs areas may need to be expanded” (2001, p. 4).
Taxiway and apron separations may be one of the biggest challenges large airports are going to face when analyzing how to accommodate the new large aircraft. Due to the lack of space that most airports already suffer from to expand, the NLA’s wingspan will require even more room to maneuver. Mollman describes how...