air terminal

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Related to air terminal: Air Terminal Unit

air terminal

1. Brit a building in a city from which air passengers are taken by road or rail to an airport or the terminal building of an airport
2. a building at an airport from which air passengers depart or at which they arrive

Air Terminal


a building for the servicing of airline passengers at airports. It is the main building of the passenger service facilities, which are located in the center of the airport and include a parking lot for city transport close to the terminal, an aircraft-parking apron, service and technical shops, a shop for preparing food to be served on board, a hotel, and a control tower. These buildings and facilities are as a rule linked with the terminal building. A distinction is made between terminals of domestic and international airlines. Passenger services at the terminal include the sale and registration of tickets; the checking and registration of luggage and its distribution for flights and to passengers; flight departure and arrival information; public facilities; and mail, medical, and other services. Terminals of international airlines also have facilities for border passport control and customs inspection of baggage. All the buildings of the terminal are divided into three groups, depending on their functions: passenger services (halls for transactions, waiting and arrival halls, a cafe, and a restaurant); auxiliary services (such as luggage rooms, rooms for mothers and children, and a post office); and operational services (such as rooms for transportation service and rooms for engineering and technical equipment). The size of an airport terminal depends on the volume of passengers the airport is designed to handle. The terminal must also be large enough to service visitors accompanying the passengers, at the rate of 30 to 40 percent of the number of passengers.

To provide better service to the population of large cities and to facilitate the operation of airport terminals, city terminals are built in places conveniently connected with the airport by city transit. The first terminals were built in Western Europe in 1922–23 (at Le Bourget Airport, Paris, and Tempelhof Airport, Berlin). The construction of airport terminals greatly expanded after World War II with the improvement in the quality and the increase in the size of passenger aircraft; in the USSR this took place especially after 1958, with the commissioning of the high-speed and large-capacity planes Tu-104,11–18, An-10, and Tu-114.

The practice of designing and building airport terminals in the USSR is vast and diversified. The size of the airline network makes it possible to use standard designs for terminals with an estimated capacity for handling 50, 100, 200, and 400 passengers an hour. Individual designs are used for bigger terminals—those handling from 600 to 3,000 passengers an hour (for instance, the terminal at Domodedovo Airport near Moscow)—and for terminals built under special conditions (in northern and seismic regions).

The architecture and planning of a modern terminal is subordinated to the technological scheme of passenger service and boarding procedures. The basic building is the transactions hall; its size and the nature of its equipment determine the traffic capacity of the terminal building. The space arrangement and structure of the passenger rooms must correspond to the layout of the apron of the particular airport. If the volume of airplane traffic, especially of large planes, is high, the planning of the terminal must make provisions to reduce the standing time of the aircraft and to ensure the safety of the passengers and provide conveniences for them; this is achieved by aboveground and underground passages and special pavilions that are connected with the planes by permanent closed ramps on a level with the second floor of the terminal building. The planning of a terminal must be precise; it must exclude the crossing and meeting of masses of passengers with luggage that is being moved, exclude unnecessary ascents and descents, and make it easy for passengers to orient themselves on their way to and from the planes. The architectural expressiveness of modern terminals is achieved through the use of large-span reinforced-concrete and metal construction, effective wall materials, stained-glass panels, and so on (the terminal of Domodedovo Airport, 1965, architects G. A. El’kin, G. V. Kriukov, V. G. Lokshin, engineers N. I. Irmes, B. I. Zhuravlev, A. A. Arnol’d). The mode of repetition of unified metal and prefabricated reinforced-concrete elements, which are open in the interior and easily visible from the outside, creates an impressive artistic effect. The architectural and spatial composition of some terminals reflects the search for new forms that would give a plastic expression to the diversified design possibilities of monolithic reinforced concrete (the terminal at Kennedy Airport in New York, 1962, architect E. Saarinen).


Lokshin, V., N. Sogomonian, and Iu. Berlin. Aerovokzaly aeroportov: Tipy zdanii. Moscow, 1966.
Golubev, G. E., G. M. Andzhelini, and A. F. Modorov. Sovremennye vokzaly. . . . Moscow, 1967.
Haas, E. Moderne Flughäfen für den zivilen Luftverkehr. Berlin, 1962.
Kohl, F. Moderner Flughafenbau. Berlin, 1956.


air terminal

[′er ‚tərm·ən·əl]
(civil engineering)
A facility providing a place of assembly and amenities for airline passengers and space for administrative functions.
A structure, such as a tower, that serves as a lightning arrester.

air terminal

In a lightning protection system, the combination of a metal rod and its brace or footing, on the upper part of a structure.
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