English Across the Curriculum

At The Airport

Airport Facilities

Control Tower

The control tower is the centre of airport traffic control. Air controllers use radar, radio, signal lights and other electronic equipment to guide planes when they take off and land. They give pilots permission to take off or tell them which runway to use. At busier airports controllers handle up to 200 aircraft per hour.

Control Tower

Air traffic control tower at Birmingham Airport, U.K.
Image: Myself (Adrian Pingstone)., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Hangars are buildings in which airplanes are repaired or serviced . Most airlines have their own hangars, in which they can park many jets at the same time. Most hangars are far away from terminals and runways so that they do not interfere with airport traffic .

Lufthansa airbus in a hangar

Lufthansa Airbus in a hangar
Image :  C Mercieca at English WikipediaW, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Other facilities

Airports have many other buildings. Food kitchens or catering companies prepare food that is brought onto planes. Large airlines often have their offices in their own buildings. All airports have big parking lots or houses and most airports are connected with the inner cities through trains or subways.

Originally , airports were built far away from city centers. They have not moved, but cities have grown a lot and today many suburbs lie near them. A lot is being done to make life more bearable for people who live in nosier airport areas. At some airports, traffic is forbidden during night hours. Airports today are getting bigger and bigger. As more and more people choose air travel as a convenient way of travelling, new terminals and other facilities must be built in order to cope with a growing number of passengers.