Also known as a ramp, the apron is an airplane’s parking area, normally located off the airport runway and taxiway.
It is where passengers either embark or disembark an aircraft, and/or where handlers load and unload baggage and cargo. The apron can also serve as a refuelling station, or as a parking area area outside of a hangar.
- In the U.S., the apron is known for any part of the airport used to park or maintain an aircraft, whereas the ramp refers to the area where pre-flight activities are performed.
- An apron is sometimes erroneously referred to as the tarmac, which basically means any paved surface, including the runway, landing strip, airstrip and taxiway.
There are normally a large amount of aprons found at both commercial and private airports in London and around the world.
Most large airports have their aprons divided into a number of sections so that two or more aircraft are not assigned to park in the same apron. This alleviates delays when flights are scheduled to take off or arrive around the same time.
The same rule applies to private airports in London, such as London City Airport, where the apron is split into four sections.
The aprons of military airbases typically have blast walls, which deflect the exhaust caused by powerful jet engines. Blast walls have also been used on the aprons of commercial airports and have been considered by private airports in London and other dense urban areas for safety and security purposes.