Airport Operations and construction Options
Airports are owned and operated by various types of entities. Sometimes Airport Operations involve corporations or even private parties. In other cases, they are owned by municipalities.
Local legislatures regulate the operations of municipal airports in their jurisdiction.
Often, multiple airports are operated under a regional airport authority. These can include airports in multiple states.
Airport Regulations Abound
Regardless of who owns it, Airport Operations and maintenance are subject to strict zoning regulations. So is the property around it. Public agencies are often granted power by the state to limit the ways in which property that is adjacent to the airport can be used. The purpose of these limitations is to reduce interference by neighboring property owners on airport operations.
However, property owners, both commercial and residential ones, can take legal action against airports if they are considered a nuisance to those around them. Some airports, for example, have limitations on how late flights can land because of the disturbance to people who live nearby. It’s always a balancing act for courts to weigh the needs of the traveling public with the level of disturbance to surrounding property owners.
A key part of the operations of any airport, no matter what the size, is building and maintaining aircraft hangars. In addition to keeping aircraft and equipment safe from the elements, it’s essential to protect the safety of the technicians and other ground employees who work on the aircraft. Of course, these structures also have to comply with local zoning ordinances.
Why Airport Operations Managers Choose Fabric Structures
Many airports choose fabric for use as their aircraft hangars and other structures. High quality fabric aviation structures offer a multitude of advantages:
- They can be quickly and easily constructed.
- They can be easily expanded or moved as the needs of the airport change.
- They are constructed to withstand wind, snow loads, and other severe weather conditions.
- They are designed to meet and in many cases exceed local and international building codes.
The term “fabric” may give some airport operations managers pause. However, quality fabric hangars and other structures are made of high-strength polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and other state-of-the-art materials for optimal strength and security. The type of material you choose will depend on factors such as how the structure will be used and the type of weather conditions it will need to endure. Acoustically absorbent materials are available to allow airports to comply with noise regulations.
There’s more to selecting the right structure than choosing the material. Fabric hangars and airport structures are available with a variety of foundations, framing, anchoring, and electrical and insulation options.
Project management teams with companies that design and manufacture fabric buildings work with airport operations managers to determine precisely what their needs are, what zoning codes they need to meet or exceed, what their timeline is and any particular health and safety concerns they have for the people who will be working in those structures.
The size of aviation structures, and particularly hangars, is crucial. Hangars need to be large enough to comfortably house aircraft, while providing space for maintenance as necessary. Fabric buildings come in a variety of standard sizes. However, they can also be custom-built to any size specification, with openings wide enough to house just about any aircraft.
The flexibility of fabric buildings and structures make them a popular choice for airport operations managers. They can go up, be moved and be dismantled much faster and less expensively than concrete and metal structures as the airport’s needs change.
Many airports rely on fabric buildings and structures for a variety of purposes beyond hangars for aircraft. These include:
- Maintenance facilities for aircraft and equipment
- Security screening facilities
- Temporary airport terminal buildings
- Technical operations facilities for IT personnel or as needed in times of emergency
- Covered walkways in case of inclement weather or if specially requested
- Reception/event spaces for guests as well as airport personnel events
- Dining areas for personnel and guests
- Training and meeting spaces for employees
They’re also used for secure, weather-proof storage of things like:
- Aircraft equipment
- Ground vehicles
- Air cargo
Airport Operations Is a Never-Ending Challenge
As anyone involved in airport operations knows, no two days are the same, and there is always some type of emergency situation of one level or another. These include:
- Technical glitches and outages (including power outages)
- Air traffic control issues
- Weather conditions that delay or strand airplanes and passengers unexpectedly
- Security threats that can slow down or even halt operations and require additional screening procedures to be implemented
- Airplane maintenance issues that require repair or replacement of equipment as quickly as possible
- Lost or stolen luggage or cargo
- Personnel issues, both with ground personnel and airline crews
- VIPs passing through who require additional security and space for meet-and-greets or who attract a media and public presence at the airport
- Medical emergencies for passengers on the ground or who have warranted an emergency landing of a plane to get medical attention
Of course, the list goes on and on. That’s why it’s essential to be able to have the flexibility to create or move structures or to have empty buildings available for when the need arises. Airport operations managers also want solid structures that are easy and inexpensive to maintain.
Some airports rent fabric buildings as the need arises. However, in the long run, it’s far more cost-effective to buy fabric structures that you can use again and again. That’s why smart airport operations managers with an eye to staying under budget choose them. By buying your own fabric buildings, you also have the option to customize them with your airport logo and other unique graphics or information.
Companies that design fabric aviation structures work with airport operations managers to ensure that the buildings meet all local and other zoning regulations. This can help save hassle, bad press and costly fines, which no airport needs.
Even though aircraft hangars and maintenance buildings are generally of little interest to airline passengers, they indeed play an important role in the comfort and safety of their travel. That’s why it’s essential that these buildings provide plenty of room for personnel to work on the planes in a safe, temperature-controlled, well-lit environment. It’s also essential that these personnel be protected from toxic fumes. Regular maintenance and efficient repair of the aircraft at your facility will help ensure safe on-time travel.
By having an airport that runs safely and efficiently, you will build a solid reputation among passengers, airlines, small businesses who maintain corporate jets, private pilots and government agencies with helicopters and rescue aircraft and those with whom you share the community.