Gate (airport)


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A gate is the portion of an airport that connects an aircraft with its payload. Commercial airport gates have airside components to facilitate passenger boarding and aircraft ground handling.[1]: 6-2 

Gates may include a waiting area for passengers before boarding their flight. While the exact specifications vary from airport to airport and country to country, most gates consist of seating, a counter, and an entry or exit doorway leading to the aircraft. Gates adjacent to a passenger concourse may be connected by way of a jet bridge or they may require that passengers board from the apron directly using mobile stairs or airstairs built into the aircraft itself. Remote gates also use stairs for boarding but require ground transportation to move passengers between the terminal and the aircraft parking location.[1]: 7-2 

Domestic vs international

At most gates a single doorway opens to a jet bridge which leads to the aircraft door depending on aircraft model. If the gate is being used for departures, domestic arrivals, or international arrivals coming from airports with preclearance for the destination airport, a door that goes to a waiting area will be opened and a hallway to customs will be closed, preventing passengers from entering into the customs hall. For international arrivals who are coming from cities that do not have preclearance, the door leading to the waiting area is closed and passengers are directed to a hallway where they can either go into the customs hall, if they end at that city, or clear customs and pre-board security if they have a connecting flight.

Jet bridge vs airstair

Before the era of the jet bridge or jetway, airline passengers embarked onto the aircraft from ground level via airstairs. If initially indoors, passengers would exit the waiting area through a door to the outside and then passengers would proceed to the airstairs leading to the aircraft door. This method is still used for boarding smaller planes or boarding at smaller airports.


The equipment is either airport or airline property, in most cases airport infrastructure.[2]



  1. ^ a b "Advisory Circular: Airport Terminal Planning" (PDF). U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Aviation Administration. July 13, 2018. AC No: 150/5360-13A. Retrieved June 23, 2020.
  2. ^ Harris, William; Freudenrich, Craig. "How Airports Work: At the Hub of It All: Concourses and Terminals". HowStuffWorks. Retrieved March 7, 2020.