An airport is best described as a complex of buildings used to facilitate
take off, landing and maintenance of aircraft. Facilities used for the handling
of passengers are called terminals.
Major airports are those which are
based in a capital or a major city. For an airport to be classed as a major facility it must serve more than 10 million passengers
per annum (mppa). The airports
usually have more than 1 runaway and passenger terminals. Major airports have many airlines operating out of them from. They
operate flights to worldwide destinations and they have a high numbers of
transfer/transit passengers. They are also likely to be owned by privately.
London Heathrow is the UK’s largest airport and served 73.4 million passengers in 2014.
Regional airports are meant to serve regions or populated areas for example the
North East, East Midlands and Yorkshire in the UK. They have between 1-10 mppa. They traditionally
have 1 runaway and terminal and they serve mainly charter and low cost
airlines. Regional airports in the UK serve European
destinations and they can be publicly or privately owned. Leeds/Bradford is an
example of a regional airport. Leeds/Bradford airport has a fair amount of
airlines such as Aerlingus, Austrian airlines,
BH air, British Airways etc.
Local airports serve small cities or
large towns. They have less that 1 million passengers and they have small
runaways. They have 1 or 2 airlines which are traditionally charter
and low cost. They aircraft are most likely used for general aviation such as
flying schools or helicopter lessons etc. Local airports
are privately owned. Blackpool airport is an example of a local airport. They
may be publicly or privately owned.
essential to the industry. Without airlines providing flights there would be no
industry. Just like how there are different airports there are different
airlines that serve different purposes.
Scheduled Airlines are sometimes also
referred to as legacy or network carrier airlines. Some examples are Emirates,
British-Airways and Virgin.
They use a large variety of different aircraft types
because they operate different routes around the world and can afford to hire
pilots with different licenses. Scheduled airlines will also operate with lower
load factors meaning the flight will still operate whether the flight is full
or only consists of a few passengers. They normally offer a broad variety of
different fares and service levels depending on the class you wish to pay for.
The aircraft are normally split up into multiple cabins such as economy,
business and first class.
Budget Airlines are sometimes also
referred to as low cost or no frills airlines. Some examples are Ryan-Air ,
Air-Asia & Easy-jet.
Budget airlines operate on the same basis as most
scheduled airlines but because they have a significantly lower cost base they
can offer fares that are a lot cheaper. This is because they only operate short
haul or domestic flights and if there are not high load factors then the flight
will most likely be cancelled. To be successful they must operate with high
load factors. They only use one type of aircraft to avoid hiring different
pilots. Tickets are also non-inclusive meaning food and drink must be bought on
board the aircraft. They also stick to using cheaper airports, so Heathrow for
example and other large airports are avoided to keep costs down.
Charter Airlines altogether account
for roughly 10% of airline travel worldwide , however this percentage is higher in Europe.
Europe has a highly developed charter industry.
Charter Airlines offer a variety of services to major
holiday destinations for set time periods , summer or winter. Flights are
commonly part of a holiday package including accommodation and transfers from
the airport etc. Most flights are booked well in advance and can be booked
sometime over a year prior. Majority of these airlines operate from regional
airports , there are no charter airlines operating from Heathrow Airport.
Cargo Airlines are sometimes also
referred to as Freight Airlines. Some examples are DHL , UPS and FedEx.
Cargo airlines are used to transport anything from
documents , packages to animals and produce. Integrated carriers would be DHL
or FedEx. They operate all routes from short haul to long haul. They would have
one cabin with no seats or windows. Some cargo can be carried in the belly
holds of passenger aircraft, mostly done by scheduled airlines such as BA.
Chartered aircraft also take cargo but mostly as a one off or regular