National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings (2023)

Chapter: Chapter 5 - Conclusions

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Page 66
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26913.
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Page 66
Page 67
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 5 - Conclusions." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2023. Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/26913.
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Page 67

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66 Conclusions The primary objective of this synthesis was to document the apron/ramp marking variations at NPIAS airports across the United States. The markings included apron/ramp markings used in terminal gate areas, taxilanes, hardstands, deicing aprons, airside roadway/vehicle markings, and other areas outside of the non-movement area (helipads, vertiports, and so forth). The literature review, the industry survey, the case examples, and the interviews completed as part of this synthesis show that there are a multitude of unique apron/ramp marking practices used at NPIAS airports across the United States and that these practices are not contained in the materials that were the focus of the literature review. In general, airports appear to be working with their stakeholders (e.g., airlines, ground crews, and others) to develop unique marking schemes and practices to meet their operational needs in the absence of comprehensive industry guidelines. These findings form the basis for the following conclusions, which will be relevant to future research: • Lack of Comprehensive Industry Guidelines. Despite the wide variety of guidelines materials related to apron/ramp markings at airports, none of the guidelines are comprehensive. Many publications focus on apron/ramp markings in specific locations (deicing aprons, terminal gates, and so forth). In general, the international guidance materials provide more detail regarding different apron/ramp marking practices at airports. • Lack of Consistent Terminology. The terminology used from one guide to another to refer to various apron/ramp markings is inconsistent. This can create confusion. • Working with Stakeholders. Airports are working with their local stakeholders to revise and refine their apron/ramp marking practices. However, this collaboration does not typi- cally include modeling marking practices after those used at other airports. As part of future research, it will be important to connect airports that use various marking practices and air- ports of various sizes to establish and refine future standards. • Differing Standards Between Airlines. Airlines have different standards related to their preferred layout of terminal gate apron markings. Additionally, airlines may have different requirements related to wingtip and building clearances. These requirements can affect apron markings in important ways. • Importance of Ground Support Personnel. The industry survey revealed that airports gen- erally believe that their apron/ramp markings are less sufficient in providing consistent and clear guidance to ground support personnel than to pilots. Airports should take steps to con- sider how markings provide guidance to ground support personnel, not just to pilots, when they are establishing the apron/ramp marking scheme. • Marking Consistency Is a Concern for Airports. Multiple airports identified concerns related to a lack of consistency in the markings in certain apron/ramp areas. This concern was C H A P T E R 5

Conclusions 67 identified more frequently with respect to terminal apron gate area markings. Several airports indicated that they would like to see apron/ramp markings standardized across the industry. • Challenges Involved in Marking Areas for Aircraft of Multiple Sizes. Many airports stated that they have found it challenging to mark aprons for aircraft of different sizes. This challenge occurs when the airport or apron is primarily designed for aircraft of a certain size, but larger aircraft must use the area from time to time. • Airports Use a Variety of Publications and Stakeholder Input to Establish Their Apron/ Ramp Marking Scheme(s). While airports generally reported that they use the guidelines provided in FAA ACs to establish their apron/ramp marking scheme(s), they also use guide- lines from a multitude of other industry resources (ICAO, ACI, A4A, and so forth) and stakeholders (e.g., airlines) to establish the apron/ramp marking scheme(s) for their airport. However, several airports did adopt unique marking schemes not identified in the industry guideline materials. • Effective Marking Maintenance. The ongoing proper maintenance of apron/ramp markings is a concern for airports because it can require significant resources. In the case examples, some airports identified the use of thermoplastic markings as a way to reduce maintenance requirements. • Wingspan Restriction. Based on the interview with ALPA, airports should express wingspan restrictions in feet instead of using ADGs. • Lead-In Lines from Taxilane Centerline. The ALPA interviewee indicated that pilots gener- ally prefer airports to paint lead-in lines that stretch all the way from the taxilane centerline to the stop bar at the gate. This practice reduces the amount of judgment that a pilot must exercise when pulling into a terminal gate. • Collaboration with Flight Data Providers. Based on the ALPA interview and discussions with airport staff, airports should work with Jeppesen, Lido, and other flight data providers to document any unique apron/ramp marking practices in their publications. • Marking Congestion. Based on the A4A interview, marking congestion is a concern for air- line personnel. They recommended that airports work with their airline partners to prevent an overabundance of apron markings that could create confusion. Based on these conclusions, the synthesis team provides the following observation to inform future research and to close/identify knowledge gaps in the industry: • Updating Industry Guideline Materials. Many stakeholders indicated that they would be in favor of updating the guidelines related to airfield apron/ramp markings. Future research on these markings would be helpful if it brought together industry stakeholders in collaborative discussions related to this topic. This research could also look into ways to increase the famil- iarity of ramp personnel with airport apron/ramp markings.

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In the absence of comprehensive guidelines related to standards for surface apron and ramp markings, airports have worked with their specific stakeholder groups (such as airlines and ground crews) to develop unique apron and ramp marking practices that meet their operational needs. Consequently, variations are seen in apron and ramp markings at airports across the United States.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Synthesis 122: Airfield Apron and Ramp Surface Markings documents airport apron and ramp marking variations at U.S. airports.

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