Useful Tools



Bridge linking passenger terminal or pier to aircraft door.

Accident (ICAO)

An incident associated with the operation of an aircraft in which the aircraft sustains damage or structural failure which adversely affects the structural strength, performance or flight characteristics of the aircraft and would normally require major repair or replacement of the a affected component. This does not include engine failure or damage, its cowlings or accessories, damage limited to propellers, wing tips, antennas, tires, brakes, fairings, small ducts or punctures in the aircraft skin. It also occurs when an aircraft is missing or completely inaccessible.

ACI - Airport Council International

Geneva-based international body representing the interests of some 1,200-member airports.


Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and Insurance. A type of lease normally, but not always, between two airlines, where the leaser provides the aircraft, one or more complete crews including their salaries, all maintenance for the aircraft, and hull insurance for the aircraft itself. Sometimes he will provide third-party liability cover. ACMI charges will be by the hour, but with a minimum number of hours per month guaranteed.

ACMI Lease

See Lease, ACMI.

ACMI wet rate

Charge, normally in US$ per block hour, for an ACMI lease.

Ad hoc cargo charter

A non-scheduled non-common carrier cargo service hired to move a shipment. See Scheduled freight service.

Ad hoc carrier

Cargo carrier offering aircraft for ad hoc charters.

Ad hoc charter

See Charter, Ad hoc.


Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast, a navigation and collision-avoidance system.



Aircraft certificate

A certificate issued by a relevant aviation authority in relation to a particular aircraft used to indicate compliance with the appropriate requirements concerning aircraft type, airworthiness, etc.

Air Cargo

Any property carried on an aircraft other than stores, COMAT and baggage. This includes freight, mail or express items. Also known as aircargo and airfreight.

Aircraft, combi

An aircraft intended for the movement of passengers and cargo sharing main-deck accommodation during the flight.

Aircraft, freighter

An aircraft, either constructed, permanently converted or temporarily converted from passenger service, which is carrying or capable of carrying goods or property with no passenger complement.

Aircraft, green

Aircraft flyable but unpainted, unfurnished and basically equipped.

Aircraft hangar

Building constructed or converted to allow the maintenance or storage of aircraft.

Aircraft movements per hour

This is the amount of traffic that the Air Traffic Control, runways and taxiways can support in any given hour.

Aircraft On Ground (AOG)

A situation in which mechanical failure prevents an aircraft from moving or taking off. This is not normally at its regular maintenance base.

Aircraft pallet

A platform of standard dimensions on which goods are assembled and secured before being loaded as a complete unit on to an aircraft.

Aircraft, passenger

An aircraft intended primarily for the movement of passengers. Any cargo will be secured in lower deck holds.

Aircraft prepared for service

Fully equipped and serviced aircraft without useable fuel and payload.

Aircraft range

See Range.

Aircraft stand

A designated area on an apron intended to be used for aircraft parking.

Aircraft tow tractor

Vehicle used maneuver aircraft on ground by towing and pushing when the aircraft is not powering movement with its own engines.

Aircraft towbarless tractor

Aircraft tow tractor, which does not utilize a tow bar.

Aircraft weights

A series of weights, taken with or without various loads, of an aircraft during various stages of its operation. See AUW, MLW, MRW, MTOW, MZFW, OEW, Ramp Weight.


An aircraft's structure without power plants or aircraft systems.


The carriage of personnel or supplies by air.


A private or state company operating owned or hired aircraft for paying passengers or cargo on a scheduled or charter basis.

Airplane drain plugs

White or brown fittings located in the lower fuselage skin to drain fluid from the aircraft's bilges.


An area of land that is used, or intended to be used, for the landing and take-off aircraft including associated buildings and infrastructure. See Terminal.

Airport, all cargo

An airport solely for the use of scheduled or ad hoc cargo aircraft operations. Can be a common carrier airport or non-common for the use of one company.

Airport, alternate

An airport at which an aircraft may land if a landing at the intended airport becomes inadvisable. If an aircraft must turn around in flight, this may be the original departure airport.

Airport approach lights

Lights indicating the desired approach to a runway, usually of sodium or high intensity type, laid in a precise pattern of a lead-in line with crossbars at set distances from the runway threshold. Types of approach lighting systems are:

I) Approach lighting system with sequenced flashing lights
II) PAPI-Precision Approach Path indicator system
III) Runway alignment indicator lights
IV) Sequenced flashing lead-in lights

Airport capacity

Capacity is measured from the combined results of the performance of two or more of the following measures-terminal, apron and aircraft movements.

Airport, charter

An airport predominantly used for charter flight services with little, if any, scheduled services.

Airport charges

Charges levied by airport owners or operators to airlines for landing an aircraft. These charges can include landing fees, take-off fees, airside charges and landside charges. These are the traditional sources of revenue for airports. However, within the last 20 years, rental revenues from airport concessions and tenants have almost become as important a source of revenue.

Airport, domestic

An airport solely for the use of aircraft arriving from, or departing to, another airport in the same country.

Airport elevation

Highest point of an airport's usable runways, measured in feet from mean sea level. See Touch down zone elevation.

Airport, free

An international airport at which, provided they remain within a designated area until removal by air to a point outside the territory of the country, crew, passenger, baggage, cargo, mail and stores may be disembarked or unloaded, may remain and may be trans-shipped, without being subject to any Customs charges or dues or, except in special circumstances, be searched. See Bonded Stores, Free Trade Zone.

Airport, gateway

An airport serving the role of being the airport that passengers and cargo use to first enter a country.

Airport, international

An airport designated by the contracting country in whose territory it is situated as an airport of entry and departure for international transport, where formalities required by Customs, immigration, public health, animal and plant quarantine etc are carried out.

Airport markers

Partly-colored board defining on airfields;

I) Boundary markers-limits of landing areas
II) Taxi-channel markers-limits of taxi tracks. See Taxiway lighting
III) Obstruction markers-limits of ground hazards
IV) Runway visual markers – situated at equal distance by which visibility is gauged in bad weather.

Airport meteorological minima

The minimum cloud base and visibility in which landings and take-off at an airport are permitted.

Airport operator

A private company or government, regional or local authority department in charge of an airport operation.

Airport owner

A private company or government, regional or local authority department that owns an airport.

Airport scheduling

Co-ordination of arrivals and departures of planned flight operations at a given airport or group of airports.

Airport surface detection equipment

Radar equipment designed to detect all principal features on the surface of an airport, including aircraft and vehicles.


The movement area of an airport, adjacent terrain, buildings or apron area, access to which is regulated and controlled. Normally restricted to airport personnel, aircraft crew and departing and transiting passengers. See Landside.

Air stairs

A short stairway built into or added to an aircraft, for use in embarkation or disembarkation. Folded up as part of a door or folded on board after use.


Unidirectional landing area, usually of grass or of a makeshift nature.


A document made out by shipper as evidence of the contract between shipper and carrier. Not a deed of title to the consignment. Sometimes Air Waybill.


Describes an aircraft which meets all relevant statutory requirements of the registering country and any other required to give authority to its operation. See certificate of Airworthiness.

All-cargo airport

An airport solely for the use of scheduled or ad hoc cargo aircraft operations. Can be a common carrier airport or solely for the use of one company.

Alternate airport

See Airport, alternate.

Approach lights

See approach lights.


A defined area on an airport intended to accommodate aircraft for the purpose of loading or unloading passengers or cargo, re-fueling, parking or maintenance.

Apron bus

Airside bus especially utilized to move passengers and crew from airport building to/from aircraft. See Shuttle bus.

Apron capacity

The number of aircraft handled per hour, which depends on the number of parking stands and the capacity of ground handling agencies to service the aircraft.

Apron taxiway

Portion of a taxiway system located on an apron and intended to provide a through taxi route across an apron. See Taxiway.

ATC-Air Traffic Control

A service operated by an appropriate authority to promote the safe, orderly and expeditious flow of air traffic.

AUW-All up Weight

Total weight of aircraft under defined conditions or at a specific time during flight. Not to be confused with MTOW.

Auxiliary power unit

Item carried on an aircraft for tasks such as main engine starting, ground air-conditioning etc.


Back track

Taxiing along a runway in the opposite direction to take-off and landing.


Personal property belonging to passengers or crew carried on an aircraft in connection with a journey. Can be checked or unchecked baggage. Also known as luggage.

Baggage carousel

Equipment used in passenger terminal to bring passengers' baggage for collection from apron.

Baggage cart

A towed vehicle used for ramp transport of baggage.

Baggage, mishandled

Baggage involuntarily or inadvertently separated from passengers and crew.

Bare Hull Charter

Another name for a dry lease. See lease, dry.


Bottom of container or pallet, which comes into contact with the floor.

Basic operating weight

MTOW minus payload.

Belt loader

Equipment using a belt to load bulk freight, baggage and mail into the aircraft. Can be self-propelled or trailer-mounted.


Tanks in an aircraft designed to trap non-cargo liquids such as condensation in flight and on the ground. Emptied by means of airplane drain plugs.


Collision between an aircraft and birds.

Birdstrike precautions

Measures taken at an airport to avoid bird strikes.

Blast fence

A physical barrier used to direct or dissipate jet or propeller blast at an airport.

Block hour

Chargeable hour for which an aircraft is leased to a lessee during a wet lease (sixty minutes of block time).

Block time

Time elapsed from the moment an aircraft starts to leave its loading point to the moment it comes to rest at its destination. Also known as block-to-block, chock-to-chock.


Crew and passengers entering an aircraft prior to flight.

Boarding Card

Card issued at check-in giving authority to board.

Boarding gate

See Gate.

Bonded fuel

Aviation fuel imported into a country for use only in international services on which no tax is paid.

Bonded stores

Warehousing under the direct or indirect control of Customs authorities where dutiable goods are stored prior to export after transshipment or entry into the country, upon which the duty will be paid.

Border controls

Checks made on passengers and cargo attempting to enter a country. Normally include visa examination, passport control and immigration formalities for passengers and import and export licenses for air cargo.

Boundary lights

Lights defining the boundary of the landing area. Can also mean the lights marking the perimeter of the airport's land area.

Braking action

A report on conditions on the airport movement area providing a pilot with a degree/quality of braking expected: braking action is reported in terms of good, medium, fair, poor or nil.


An individual or company who, for a fee, locates and arranges the hire of a cargo aircraft, with or without crew, for a client.

Bulk cargo

All cargo not packed in containers or on a pallet.

Bulk loader

Self-drive belt conveyor vehicle for loading bulk cargo into an aircraft.


Cabin crew

See Crew, cabin.


The right, rarely given, to a foreign air carrier to move passengers, mail or cargo within the territory of a country between domestic locations .See liberalization.


General term given to cargo space and available lift from a given aircraft.


See Air Cargo.

Cargo conversion

Passenger or other non-cargo aircraft permanently converted to carry cargo.

Cargo dock

Loading bay of a cargo terminal.

Cargo door

Door in aircraft designed to take freight, vehicles or containers.

Cargo door, nose

Cargo door in nose of aircraft hinged to swing upwards or to one side, to allow easier access to general cargo or access for cargo too large to pass through side cargo door.

Cargo door, rear

Cargo door in rear of aircraft often hinged to become ramp for access. Some aircraft types open at the rear by swinging the tail housing to one side.

Cargo door, side

Cargo door in portside of aircraft (generally).

Cargo ground handling

Function of moving cargo from terminal to aircraft side and vice versa and at all times the cargo is on the airport's premises. Can be performed by the air carrier second-party airline providing such services, the airport authority or an independent ground handling company.

Cargo hold

General term for the area of an aircraft where cargo is stowed for a journey. Can be entire inside space on a freighter that space not used by passengers on a Combi, or lower deck area in a passenger aircraft.

Cargo insurance

See insurance.

Cargo loader

Mobile equipment with elevating platforms and powered rollers for loading and unloading ULDs on aircraft.

Cargo ramp

Airside area upon which freighter aircraft are parked for loading or unloading of cargo.

Cargo Village

Term sometimes used to group air cargo operations at an airport, especially newly constructed warehousing developments.


Customs document allowing the temporary importation of goods without duty, conditional on the goods being re-exported in the same state as when they entered the country. These goods cannot be altered, used in manufacture, or disposed of without the duty being paid ad if they had been imported normally.

Certificate of Airworthiness

Certificate that an individual aircraft meets all relevant legal and safety standards.


Convertible Freighter.

Chapter III

FAA regulations producing stringent limits on aircraft noise and emission. Failure to comply with the standards will prevent an aircraft landing at an airport where the regulations are in force.

Charter, ad hoc

A non-scheduled non-common carrier cargo service hired to move a single shipment. See scheduled freight service.

Charter airport

See Airport, charter.

Charter passenger

See passenger charter.

Charter service

See Ad hoc cargo charter, passenger charter, scheduled freight service, passenger, scheduled service.

Charter, split

Where an intermediary such as a freight forwarder charters an aircraft and re-sells capacity to third parties.


Airline function where intending travelers present tickets for seat reservations and obtain boarding authority.


A compartment to accommodate pilots and other crewmembers. Now known as a flight deck.

COMAT-Company owned material

An airline's own property such as spare-parts, station supplies, ticket stock, etc, carried in the airline's own aircraft.


One or more pieces of cargo accepted by a carrier at one time and one time and one address, moving as one lot under an AWB to one destination.

Crew, cabin

Personnel required to attend to the needs of passengers on a flight. Also known as flight attendants.

Crew, flight

Personnel required for the immediate safe handling in flight of an aircraft.

Crew, ground

Personnel required for the handling of an airport on the ground.

Cross wind component

Surface wind component at right angles to runway centerline.

Cube utilization

Maximum use of available space in an aircraft.


A government organization fulfilling four main functions:

i) Levying and collecting taxes, duties and charges against imported and exported items with no duty-free allowance;

ii) Levying and collecting taxes, duties and charges against imported and exported items exceeding a duty-free allowance;

iii) Preventing the importation of banned, prohibited and illegal material in air cargo shipments and passengers' luggage;

iv) Collection and collating of statistical information from point of exit or entry.


Weight equal to 112lbs or 50.80kgs; (US) Weight equal to 100lbs or 45.36kgs.


Dangerous goods

Articles or substances, which are capable of posing a significant risk to health, safety or property. Significant and strict local, national and international laws and regulatory rules govern the handling, storage and movement of such substances to and at airports.

Dangerous goods accident

An occurrence associated with and related to the transport of dangerous goods by air, which results in fatal or serious injury to person or major property damage.

Dangerous goods classes

Nine international classes, which highlight the categories of different types of articles:



2.1 Flammable gases

2.2 Non-Flammable gases

2.3 Toxic gases

Class3-Flammable liquids

Class4-Flammable solids

4.1 Flammable solids

4.2 Spontaneously combustible substances

4.3 Water reactive substances

Class5-Oxidizing substances

5.1 Oxidizing substances

5.2 Organic peroxides

Class6- Toxic substances

6.1 Poisonous substances

6.2 Infectious substances

Class7-Radioactive materials


Class9-Miscellaneous material, including that which can only be flown on a cargo aircraft.

Deck, lower

Term for cargo hold under the main deck.

Deck, main

Main floor of aircraft forming base of upper hold in freighter aircraft or where passengers and cargo are placed in a Combi.


Removal of ice accretion on an aircraft at an airport – can be done by use of fluids, heating systems and expanding rubber membranes.


Charge for storage in an airline warehouse or other warehouse, which accrues after a given time, for consignments not collected. Also applies to delay caused to an aircraft (eg by charterer).

Departure lounge

See Passenger departure lounge.

Departure procedure

ATC procedures established for an aircraft departing from an airport.

Departure time

Exact time at which an aircraft becomes airborne, an important factor in air traffic control. Can also be time when an aircraft moves away from the terminal at the commencement of taxiing prior to take-off. Colloquially known as 'off chocks'.


Removal of domestic laws, which liberalizes the business environment concerning airports and airline operations. Associated with activities in the United States in the 1980s. See Privatization.


The leaving of an aircraft after a landing, except by crew or passengers continuing on the next stage of the same through flight. See embarkation.


Act of proceeding to an airport other than one at which landing was intended.

Domestic airport

See Airport, domestic.

Doorsill height

Height from ground to aircraft doorsill.

Down time

The time an aircraft is on the ground at an airport, except for when it is undergoing turnaround. Also colloquially a term for the time of landing.

Dry lease

See lease, dry.

Dry rate

Cost, normally per month, of a dry lease. See lease, dry.

Duty Free

Regime of goods available only to passengers on airside where goods are priced without a country's duty on condition they are exported with the passenger.

Duty-free allowance

Traditionally this is the amount in monetary value or actual quantity available to individual qualifying international passengers. These goods are only available airside or, increasing, in flight.


Time spent at an airport by would-be passengers between check-in and departure.



Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System.


The entry of an aircraft by crew or passengers.

Emergency power unit

Power-producing part of aircraft not used for propulsion.


Extended Range.


See Extended Range Twin (engine) Operations.


See Extended Twin Over-water Passenger Preparations.

Extended Range Twin (engine) Operations

Sometimes referred to as EROPS, this is a routing not more than given flight time of 120 or 180 minutes from a useable alternative airport.

Extended Twin Over-water Passenger Operations

The ability of an aircraft to operate over large stretches of water, such as the Pacific. Also known blackly by pilots as Engines Turning or Passengers Swimming.


Ferry range

See Range, ferry.

First responders-Awareness

See Hazmat emergency response.

First responders-Operations

See Hazmat emergency response.

Flight crew

See Crew, flight.

Floor bearing

Maximum weight the aircraft floor can bear.

Floor load

Static and dynamic loads imposed by the payload.


Foreign object damage.


See Hazmat emergency response.

Free airport

See Airport, free.


There are ten international aviation freedoms:

i) First freedom: To over-fly one country en-route to another.
ii) Second freedom: To make a technical stop in another country.
iii) Third freedom: To carry passengers/cargo from the home country to another.
iv) Fourth freedom: To carry passengers/cargo to the home country from another.
v) Fifth freedom: To carry passengers/cargo between two countries by an airline of a third on a route with origin/destination in its home country
vi) Sixth freedom: To carry passengers/cargo between two countries by an airline of a third on two routes connecting in its home country.
vii) Seventh freedom: To carry passengers/cargo between two countries by an airline of a third on a route outside its home country.
viii) Eighth freedom or Cabotage: To carry passengers/cargo within a country by an airline of another country on a route with origin/destination in its home country.
ix) Ninth freedom or Stand-Alone Cabotage: To carry passengers/cargo within a country by an airline of another country.
x) True Domestic: To carry passengers/cargo by an airline within its home country.


See FTZ-Free Trade Zone.

Freight door

See Cargo door.

Freight hub

See Hub, freight.

Freighter aircraft

See Aircraft, freighter.


See Hazmat emergency response.

FTZ-Free Trade Zone

An industrial area in which manufactures are permitted to import raw materials or semi-assemblies for manufacturing purposes which, provides they leave the zone by air to a point outside the territory of the country, do not incur import duties.

Fuel burn

Rate at which fuel is burnt during a flight, normally given in tones per hour. This is a vital element in the cost of chartering or operating a freighter aircraft.

Fuel capacity

Fuel available for propulsion.

Fuel consumption

See specific fuel consumption.

Fuel farm

Term used to describe location of tanks holding aviation fuel at an airport.



A point of access to the apron from the terminal at an airport.

Gate hold procedure

A procedure to hold aircraft at the gate or other ground location whenever departures are expected to be delayed by more than five minutes.

Gateway airport

See Airport, gateway.

GPU-Ground Power Unit

Equipment used to power an aircraft to run vital services while stationary on the ground.

Green Aircraft

See Aircraft, green.

Greeters and Weepers

Colloquial name for people waiting landside for incoming passengers and seeing off passengers.

Ground crew

See Crew, ground.

Ground support equipment

All the handling facilities employed to service an aircraft at an airport-such as tractors, steps, fuelling tanks, food and cleaning supplies.

Ground visibility

Prevailing horizontal visibility near the earth's surface as reported by an accredited observer.



See aircraft hangar.

Hazardous goods

Another term for dangerous goods. Also known as Hazardous material. See dangerous goods.

Hazardous Materials On-scene Incident Commander

See Hazmat emergency response.

Hazardous Materials Specialist

See Hazmat emergency response.

Hazardous Materials Technician

See Hazmat emergency response team.


International warning panel designed to alert as to the dangers, characteristics and appropriate accident response to hazardous chemicals and liquids.


Another term for hazardous material.

Hazmat emergency response

There are five levels of response to a Hazmat incident recognized by the FAA;

i) First Responders-Awareness (FRA)- Trained individuals able to recognize when a Hazmat incident has occurred or could potentially occur and alert the appropriate authorities. They do not deal with an incident.

ii) First Responders-Operations (FRO)- Trained individuals able to contain a Hazmat spillage or incident, to prevent it spreading and prevent exposure. They do not deal with an incident.

iii) Hazardous Materials Technician (HMT)- Trained individuals able to aggressively respond to a spillage or potential spillage in order to stop it. They will approach the point of release in order to plug, patch or otherwise close it. They receive an extra 24 hours of training beyond an FRO.

iv) Hazardous Materials Specialist (HMS)- Trained individuals also able to respond aggressively to a spillage or potential spillage, but with a specialization training in particular aspects of responses, such as chlorine releases. They receive an extra 24 hours of training beyond an FRO.

v) Hazardous Materials on-scene incident commander (HMOIC)- Person in overall command of all activities during an emergency response. Can also co-ordinate resources outside the airline.

vi) Hazmat emergency response team- Personnel trained in the proper procedures to deal with an incident, an accident or potential accident, involving hazardous material.

High density rule

US government regulation which caps operations at Washington National, New York's LaGuardia and JFK and Chicago O'Hare airports.


See Hazmat emergency response.


See Hazmat emergency response.


See Hazmat emergency response.


An airline's operation, which utilizes major services to connect key hub airports, with minor services then connecting with minor destinations unable to support major services themselves in terms of traffic.

Hub, freight

An airport used, normally by an integrator or scheduled freight airline, to sort and disperse goods through its network from incoming flights. Can also be accessed by road services operated by the airline or its agents. A hub can be an exclusive freight-only airport or a facility at a general airport.

Hub, passenger

An airport used to permit passengers to transfer to a second flight to reach a final destination. See Hub-and-Spoke.

Hull insurance

See insurance.


Device to limit noise levels produced by aircraft engines. See chapter III.

Hush kitting

To fit a hush-kit on an existing engine.


IAPA International Airline Passenger Association Organization

With the aim of promoting safety in airline travel, improving passenger handling and comfort

IATA International Air Transport Association Organization

Whose aims are to promote safe, regular and economical air transport as well as providing means of collaboration among international air transport companies. Its specialist publication function established published standards for the handling of dangerous goods and livestock by air.

ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization

A UN agency charged with the objective to develop the principles and techniques of international air navigation and to foster planning and development of international civil air transport.


Bottomless shell made of fiberglass, metal etc, conforming to aircraft dimensions, produced to cover the maximum useable area of a pallet to which it is secured in flight.

ILS Instrument Landing Systems

Aids for an instrument approach to an airport.


There are four main types of insurance involved with most common air freighter operations matters.

i) Hull insurance- This is taken out by the owner of the aircraft in order to protect his investment against damage to, or loss of, the aircraft itself. A charterer should never be involved with this as it is usually the responsibility of the owner, and its premiums should be already included in any charter or lease price.

ii) Third party liability- This is to protect the owner or operator against claims that may be made by other people, for example if the undercarriage damaged the roof of a house when the aircraft was landing, or if the wingtip hit another aircraft while maneuvering on the ground. Once again, it is the owner's responsibility to provide this cover all the time his crews are flying the aircraft. However, on dry leases the owner may not want to be responsible for events, which take place, while the aircraft is under someone else's control, so in that case the third party may be required to provide cover. Amounts of liability that third party insurance covers can be substantial.

iii) War Risk insurance- This is applied by insurance companies and underwriters if the aircraft intends to operate into countries or areas considered by them to be dangerous. If the aircraft operates to these areas without the additional war-risk cover, then the Hull and Third-party cover may become invalid. And thus the whole operation becomes illegal. The cover can be taken out for a specific period, or on a per flight basis.

iv) Cargo insurance- International regulations demand that an airline will provide insurance cover for all cargo carried on its aircraft, up to a specified limit. This limit is set by the Warsaw convention, and the cargo liability currently stands at US$20 per kilogram of cargo carried it applies throughout the entire period during which the cargo is in the care of that airline and covers theft, damage, loss or total destruction in the event of an accident. If a customer feels its cargo deserves a higher rate of cover than US$20 per kilo, then it is their responsibility to take out that additional insurance.


A non-common-carrier freight service controlled by a published timetable and operating to a network of stations exclusively to its own benefit and providing liveried vehicles and staff to manage the entire transport of the consignment.

International airport

See Airport, international.



Those parts of an airport not considered airside. Access is open to all persons legally entitled to be at an airport, subject to local and national laws.

Large aircraft (US)

Aircraft over 12,500lbs maximum certificated take-off weight.

Lease, ACMI

Aircraft, Crew, Maintenance and insurance lease.

Lease, dry

Lease of an aircraft without flight crew. Sometimes called a Bare Hull Charter. It is the lease of the aircraft only, without crew. In this case, the lessee has to supply his own crew (with all the associated costs), provide all his own maintenance, and obtain own insurance coverage. It is normally charged at a fixed rate per month, plus an hourly charge for engine overhauls or replacements, and major checks.

Lease, wet

Hire of aircraft from another carrier or leaser complete with flight crew, where major servicing is carried out by the owner but with hirer's logo and insignia temporarily applied.


See Lower Explosive Limit.


Political and economic trend to remove regulatory and legal barriers to any given airport or airline operation. Common examples include 'Open Skies' agreements, breaking of monopolies in service provision, authority to start airlines in competition to established carriers, allowing foreign carriers to provide cabotage between on routes between domestic airports. See Privatization.

Load classification number

A number defining the load-carrying capacity of the paved areas of an airport without cracking or permanent deflection.

Load factor

Revenue ton-miles (RTM) preformed as a percentage of RTM available.

Load factor (SI)

Revenue tonne-kms (RTK) performed as a percent age of RTK available.

Load manifest

Detailed inventory of load on the aircraft.

Load range

See Range, load.

Loading chart

Chart displaying correct locations of cargo in transport aircraft.

Loading contour

Maximum aircraft envelope for the purposes of stowage inside the aircraft, having taken into account the required clearance between the aircraft wall and the load. See Maximum aircraft envelope.

Loading diagram

Detailed plan of cargo floor and under-floor holds on which responsible officer marks position and masses of all cargo and final center of gravity position.

Local time

The time at any airport using the time zone appropriate to the location of the airport.


See Passenger departure lounge.

Lower deck

See deck, lower.

Lower Explosive Limit (LEL)

This is the lowest point at which enough vapors have been released from a given hazardous liquid to cause a fire when in contact with an ignition source.


Main deck

See deck, main.

Main runway

Runway most used for take-off and landings.

Maximum aircraft envelope

Maximum space available in the interior of the aircraft, less a given tolerance, from the manufacturer's specifications.


Maximum landing weight.

Movement area

Runways, taxiways and other areas of an airport outlined for taxiing, take-off and landing of aircraft, exclusive of loading ramps and parking areas.


Maximum ramp weight.


Maximum take of weight (MRW minus taxi and run-up fuel).

Multi-Airport System

An airport operator /authority managing more than one airport within the same metropolitan area.


Maximum Zero Fuel Weight (MTOW minus useable fuel and other consumables).



See North American free trade association.


Navigational aids, especially electronic, situated at airports. Typical examples include Airport Rotating Beacon; DME Distance Measuring equipment; SDF Simplified Directional Facility; LDA Location Distance Available; LOC ILS Localizer; PAPI Precision Approach Path Indicator system; REIL Runway End Identification Light; SID Standard Instrument Departure; TACAN Tactical Air Navigation; VASI Visual Approach Slope Indicator; VOR VHF Omni Range; VORTAC, where VOR and TACAN aids are located together at an airport Navaid classes VOR, TACAN and VORTAC aids are classed according to operational use of airports – t=terminal, l=low altitude; h=high altitude.


Operations between hours of sunset and sunrise.

Noise abatement climb

Means of flying an aircraft from an airport so as to climb rapidly until the built-up area is reached and thereafter reducing power to maintain climb until the area is over-flown or 5,000 ft is reached.

Noise footprint

The contour beneath an aircraft of constant noise level measured in decibels.

Noise restrictions

Laws concerning permitted noise levels at airports aimed at preventing disturbance to local residents, most widely felt by aircraft operators who must reduce noise levels from aircraft and airports which are restricting the type of aircraft able to land. Some airports are actively marketing the lack of noise restrictions as a user benefit. See chapter III.

Noise restrictions local

National and international laws concerning permitted noise levels at airports.

North American Free Trade Association

Association of USA, Canada and Mexico to promote a free trade area between the three countries similar to the EU.


Notice containing information essential to airport personnel connected with flight operations.



Operating Empty Weight.


Description of cargo exceeding standard dimensions.


See station.



See Aircraft pallet.

Parallel runways

See Runways, parallel.


A person, other than a crew member, destined to fly from an airport, either fare-paying or non-fare-paying.

Passenger charter

Aircraft hired to fly (normally) non-IATA regulated seasonal or ad hoc services. These services are closely associated with high volume, low yield passenger business to holiday destinations. See Airport, charter.

Passenger, charter

Passenger flying on a non-scheduled ticket.

Passenger check-in

The location where a passenger presents a valid air ticket and is booked as flying.

Passenger departure lounge

Area of an airport airside where passengers are held prior to boarding a scheduled or charter aircraft before commencing their journey. Can also be an area exclusive to ticket holders of a specific airline or class of travel.

Passenger handling agent

An agent appointed by an airline to provide check-in, baggage handling, specialist passenger assistance and flight information at an airport. See Self-handling.

Passenger hub

See Hub, passenger.

Passenger loading bridges

Equipment connecting terminal building to aircraft doors to allow passengers to board and leave aircraft.

Passenger, scheduled service

Service operated by airline conforming to a published schedule.

Passenger, transit

Passengers arriving from a first country who remain airside at an airport prior to an international flight to a third country. Not subject to passport or immigration procedures.


Disposable load generating revenue. Also known as cargo payload.


On left hand side of an aircraft looking towards the front.


Disposal of state assets such as airports to the private sector. Airport privatizations are limited but growing in popularity. Examples include some British and recent Australian airport operations.



Designation used to indicate the ability of an aircraft to be changed quickly from passenger to cargo use and vice versa.



Area where servicing and boarding of aircraft is possible.

Ramp equipment operations

Operations responsible for providing ground support equipment to aircraft, such as supply of drinking water and cleaning services.

Ramp weight

Maximum weight of aircraft at start of flight (MTOW plus taxi and run-up fuel).


Distance an aircraft can fly or is permitted to fly with a specified load and (usually) after making allowances for specified maneuvers such as diversions, stand-off, go-around. Etc.

Range, ferry

Range an aircraft can fly empty between one point and another.

Range, load

Range an aircraft can fly while carrying payload.

Rapid exit taxiway

Taxiway connected to a runway at an acute angle are achieved on other taxiways, thereby minimizing runway occupancy times. See Taxiway.

Rear cargo door

See cargo door, rear.


See road feeder service.

Road feeder service

A service offered by a scheduled cargo operator to move goods to and from the aircraft and/or terminal by road service. Allows a carrier to offer services to a city to which they do not fly aircraft. Some such devices are allocated an airline flight number.

RIV-Rapid Intervention Vehicle

An emergency vehicle intended to provide an effective means of fire suppression pending the arrival of major fire accident units.


Revenue tonne-kms. See load factor.


Revenue tone-miles. See load factor.


A defined rectangular area on a land airport prepared for the landing and take-off run of aircraft along its length. Normally numbered in relation to their magnetic direction, rounded off to the nearest 10 degree; for example, runway 18 would be referred to as runway 20.

Runway crossing procedure

Procedures to be followed by aircraft and ground vehicles required to cross active runways following instructions issued by the ground movement controller.

Runway end safety area

An area symmetrical about the extended runway centerline and adjacent to the end of the strip meant to reduce damage to an aircraft in the event of that aircraft in the event of that aircraft undershooting or over-running the runway.

Runway in use

Any runway or runways being used for take-offs or landing. When multiple runways are used, they are all considered active runways.

Runway lighting

Typical runway lighting systems are:

I) Center lightning - flush centerline lights spaced at intervals;
II) Edge limits - lights having a prescribed angle used to define the lateral limits of a runway;
III) Guard lights - provided at taxiways on access points to prevent inadvertent incursion by aircraft and vehicles.

Runway, main

See Main runway.

Runway markings

All-weather markings on runways served by non-visual precision approach aids and on runways having special operational requirements.

Runway markings, basic

Markings used for operations when visual flight rules consist of centerline marking and runway direction numbers.

Runway markings, instrument

Markings on runways served by non-visual navigation aids, intended for landing under instrument weather conditions.

Runway threshold

The usable limit of a runaway.

Runway visibility by observer

Horizontal distance at which light of about 25 candle power at night or a dark object against the horizon in the daytime can be seen by an observer near the end of the runway.

Runways, parallel

Two or more runways at the same airport whose centerlines are parallel. In addition to numbers, such runways are designated L (Left), R (Right); for three runways. L(Left); R (Right) and C (Centre).

RVR - Runway Visual Range

In bad weather the horizontal distance at which black and white markers of standard size are visible, the figure being transmitted by ATC to pilots.



See cargo door, side.

Scheduled freight carrier

A common-carrier freight service controlled by a published timetable and operating to a network of stations.

Scheduled freight service

A common-carrier freight service controlled by a published timetable and operating to a network of stations.

Scheduled service, passenger

See Passenger, scheduled service.

Schevengen agreement

European Union agreement where certain EU countries allow travelers to move between their countries with absolutely no border controls. Not all EU countries are signatories. See Border controls.

Scissor lift

Platform for loading cargo, containers, etc by means of cross arms jointed in the middle to take the appearance of scissors.


Combination of measures and human and material resources intended to safeguard civil aviation against acts of unlawful interference.


When an airline performs a task, such as check-in and ground handling, for which service providers make an alternative available.

Serious injury

Sustained by a person at an airport in an accident which requires hospitalization for more than 48 hours within seven days of injury; results in fractures of any bone, except simple fracture; involves lacerations; involves injury to internal organs; involves second or third degree burns; involves exposure to infectious substances or injurious radiation.

Short take off and landing


Shuttle bus

Landside bus connecting outlying terminals in a multi-terminal airport, car parks to terminal buildings or operating between terminals and hotels.


External covering of an aircraft's structure.

Small aircraft (UK)

Aircraft between 17,000 kgs and 40,000 kgs.

Small aircraft (US)

Aircraft tare-weight 12,500 lbs or less, maximum certificated take-off weight.

Specific fuel consumption

Rate at which fuel is consumed divided by power and thrust developed-this becomes a measure of engine efficiency. It is also used as a basis for the hiring charge for the aircraft.

Split charter

See charter, split.

Stand alone cabotage

See freedoms.


On the right hand side of an aircraft looking towards the front.


An airport in an airline's network other than main network airport. Can also be known as an out-station.


Short take off and landing characteristic aircraft requiring shorter than normal runway lengths.

Stop and go

Procedure where an aircraft will land make a complete stop on the runway and commence take-off from that point.

Stop for non-traffic purposes

A landing for any purpose other than taking on or discharging passengers, cargo or mail.

Stop, technical

A planned landing for the re-fueling of an aircraft.


Defined rectangular area at the end of the take-off run available, prepared and designated as a suitable area in which an aircraft can be stopped in the event of a discontinued take-off or overrun landing procedure.


Articles loaded on to an aircraft at an airport of a readily consumable nature for use or sale during flight, including commissary supplies.


An area of specified dimensions enclosing a runway and taxiway to provide for the safety of aircraft operations.

Supplemental capacity

Capacity hired by an airline from a supplemental carrier or other aviation source.

Supplemental carrier

A carrier offering capacity which a scheduled carrier can hire to supplement its capacity during peak periods.

Surface movement guidance and control systems

For use under low visibility conditions at larger airports. Pilot self-interpreted system may consist of selectively operated taxiway lights and warning and stop signs.

Surface Movement Radar

SMR's role in Europe not yet covered by IACO provisions.

Surface visibility (US)

Visibility observed from eye-level above the ground.



Movement of an aircraft under its own power at an airport.


Defined path established for taxiing of aircraft, providing a link between parts of an airport. See Apron Taxiway, Rapid Exit taxi-way.

Taxiway lighting

Typical taxiway lighting systems are:

i) Taxi-holding position lights;
ii) Taxiway stop bars.


Time between overhauls.


The most advanced version of Traffic Alert and collision Avoidance system.

Technical stop

see stop, technical.


A building on an airport which links airside and landside, through which passengers embarking and disembarking pass, and appropriate airports services are available. Also a building on an airport where air cargo being flown or received is stored, customs examination is possible, consolidations built up or broken down and/or cargo is transshipped to another destination.

Terminal capacity

The number of passengers per hour, which is influenced by movement rates through various junctions such as security, customs, immigration.

Tie-down diagram

Diagram showing the planned method of securing particular types and items of cargo in flight.

Tie-down point

Mechanism designed to secure pallets or containers in flight.

Time slot

A period of time allocated to an aircraft to take off.


Take off gross weight.

Touch and go

When an aircraft land and departs on a runway without stopping exiting the runway.


The point at which an aircraft first makes contact with the landing surface.

Touchdown Zone

The first 3,000ft of the runway beginning at the threshold.

Touchdown Zone elevation

The highest elevation in the first 3,000ft of the landing surface.

Tow tractor

See aircraft tow tractor.

Traffic pattern

Traffic flow prescribed for aircraft landing at, taxiing on or taking off from an airport.

Transit passenger

See Passenger, transit.

Transit Zone

Area where cargo arriving from a first country which remains airside at an airport prior to an international flight to a third country. Not subject to customs.


A self-propelled vehicle equipped with a powered roller platform for hauling ULDs between the cargo terminal and the loader at the aircraft and vice versa.

Truck mounted stairs

Stairs mounted on a truck capable of being moved to an aircraft's side to facilitate passenger boarding or leaving.


Time between the moment aircraft engines are stopped at the terminal or ramp, ground support operations completed and next load of passengers and/or cargo is loaded and engines started for next flight.


ULD-Unit load device

A standard-sized aircraft container unit used to facilitate rapid loading and unloading of aircraft having compatible handling and restraint systems.

UN Number

Four-digit number assigned to dangerous substances or group of substances by the United Nations to facilitate safer handling. See Dangerous goods.

Unit load

A number of items of cargo in a single box or container or loading on a pallet.

Usability factor

Percentage of time during which use of a runway or system of runway is not restricted by cross wind component. See Cross wind component.

Useable fuel

Total mass of fuel consumable in flight; usually some 95%-98% of total capacity.

Useful load

Payload plus useable fuel.

Utility tug

A vehicle used for towing baggage carts or trailers between passenger or cargo terminals and the aircraft.


Water equivalent

Depth of surface water the would result from the melting of ice and snow at an airport.

Wet lease

See lease, wet.


Zero fuel weight

See aircraft weight.





Cwt (UK):

Weight equal to 112lbs or 50.80kg

Cwt (US)

Weight equal to 100lbs or 45.36kg

Gallon (UK)

Liquid volume equal to 8 pints or 4.54ltr

Gallon (US)

Liquid volume equal to 0.83 UK gallon or 3.79ltr

Kilogram (me)

Sl weight equal to 1,000 gram (me)s or 2.2lbs


Sl length equal to 1,000m or 1,094 yards


One nautical mile per hour/1.85kmph/1.15mph


Sl liquid volume equal to 1,000cc or 0.22gal


Length equal to 100cm or 1.09yards


Length equal to 5,180ft or 1.60km

Nautical mile (UK)

Length of 6,080ft or 1.85km

Pint (UK)

Liquid volume equal to 20 fluid ounces or 0.568ltr

Pint (US)

Liquid volume equal to 16 fluid ounces or 0.359ltr


Weight equal to 16 ounces or 0.453kg

Statute mile

Length of 5,280ft or 0.57 nautical mile or 0.621km. See also nautical mile.

Ton (UK)

Mass equal to 2,280lbs or 1,016kg/1.016 tonnes. Commonly known as a long or gross ton.

Ton (US)

Mass equal to 2,000lbs or 907.20kg/0.907 tonnes. Commonly known as a short ton.


One ton transported one mile.


Sl mass equal to 1,000kg or 2,280lbs.


One tonne transported one kilometer.








Airbus industry.




Aircraft, crew, maintenance and insurance.








Aircraft on ground.


Aircraft prepared for service.


Auxiliary power unit.






All up weight.








Convertible freighter.


Commonwealth of independent states.

C of A

Certificate of independent states.


Company owned material.








Decibels a weighted


Distance Measuring Equipment


Emergency power unit.


Extended power unit.


Extended range twin (engine) operations.


European union.




Federal Aviation Administration (USA).


Federal Aviation Regulation (USA).




Foreign Object Damage.


Ground power unit.




International Air Transport Association.


International Civil Aviation Organization.


Instrument Flight Rules






McDonnell Douglas.


Maximum Landing Weight.


Maximum Ramp weight.


Mean Sea Level


Maximum Take off weight.


Maximum Zero fuel weight.


North American free trade association.


Nose cargo door.


Noise Compatibility Program


Nondirectional Ratio Beacon


Noise Exposure Map


Nautical Miles


Notice to Airmen.


Package freighter.


Prior Permission Required


Quick change.


Quiet trader.


Revenue tonne-km.


Revenue ton-miles.


Side cargo door.


Single-Event Noise Exposure Level


Special Federal Air Regulation

SI (units)

system international a.k.a. metric.


Tactical Air Navigation


Threshold Crossing Height


Take off gross weight.


Traffic Pattern Altitude


(Aircraft) Unit load device.


United Nations.


Visual Flight Rules


Very High Frequency Omindirectional Radial Range


Collocated VOR and TACAN Facility


ZULU (Universal) Time


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