A ramp is a dedicated space at an airport (either the home airport or alternate airport) that acts as a parking pad for an aircraft. The ramp is typically paved and leased by a particular company for storing, holding, and tying down their aircraft.
Some people refer to ramps as an apron. Both terms are interchangeable and are typically correct. Some even refer to a ramp as a hangar; however, a ramp does not exist under a closed structure. It is simply an open, paved area. Planes transition from the taxiway to parking and vice versa in this space.
A Ramp’s Purpose
The ramp is generally home to pre-flight activities. This can include:
- Loading and unloading cargo and passengers onboard
- Restocking supplies
In the U.S., it’s not uncommon for the ramp to serve as a parking space. It’s also the area where repairs and maintenance are performed.
Locations Around the World
Ramps exist at all kinds of airports around the world. A commercial aircraft will typically own or lease a ramp at their home airport as they don’t spend enough time at alternate airports to require a ramp elsewhere. Flight schools and colleges will also lease a ramp to reduce the fees associated with tie-downs, landing fees, and fuel costs.