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6.15 Explain the duties of people who work at an airport.
An airport is the site and installation for the takeoff and
landing of aircraft. Modern airports have runways, long corridors
of asphalt or concrete. Runways of 14,000 feet have been built to
accommodate four-engine jet aircraft capable of carrying 250 or
more passengers. Air traffic controllers, aided by radar and
other electronic navigational devices, direct incoming and
outgoing aircraft from airport control towers and control centers
located some distance from the airfield.
Passenger and cargo terminals have grown steadily larger and more complex with the Increase in the size of airports. In some airports, special ground transit systems have been installed between parking areas and terminals.
Airports usually are operated by a director or manager responsible either to the private owners of the airport or to the local government authorities. Depending upon the size of the airport, the manager may have one or more assistants such as an assistant manager, an engineer, a controller, a personnel officer, a maintenance superintendent, and supporting office workers such as secretaries, typists, and clerks.
If the manager is self-employed as a small airport operator, he or she probably also operates an aircraft repair station, sells aviation fuel, gives flight lessons, and offers taxi or charter flights in addition to operating the airport.
Working conditions will vary greatly depending upon the size of the airport. At a large airport, the manager works In an office usually located In the terminal building at the airport. Office hours are regular except In times of emergencies. Travel may be required to negotiate leases with airline tenants or to confer with state and federal officials. If the manager operates a very small airport, he or she also may give flying lessons, make charter flights, or work In the aircraft repair station. In many cases, the airport manager Is a part of the local government and Is often Involved In meetings and community project, especially those concerned with aviation.
Most airports are located in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas. The scheduled airlines serve more than 600 airports, while the remaining attended airports are used primarily by general aviation aircraft.
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Updated: March 12, 2004