Airport Facilities Management Terminology



An A to Z guide of assets and terminology for things you will find at an Airport.


Airbridge - Device used to dock to aircraft rather than steps.  Steps are used in an emergency for non movement of airbridge.

AMD - Archway Metal Detector a device passengers walk through, usually with their shoes and belts removed.

AHU - Air Handling Unit is part of the airports heating and ventilation system.

Airside - The area of an airport that an individual or item is once having gone thru security.

Airfield - The area outside the terminal where aircraft can be, areas such as aprons, taxiways,runways, perimeter roads, grass area's can be classed as airfield.

Apron - Generally the area where a passenger will board an aircraft and the aircraft sits.

ATG - Automatic Ticket Gate - A fairly recent device used with a boarding card to make passengers speed through landside to airside.



CCTV - Closed Circuit TV or Security Camera's used to monitor and record area's internal and external within an airport either monitored by airport security, police or other agencies.


Doors - Doors can be normal office door, fire door, jetty door, revolving door, etc.  Different technicians look after different door or more the actual thing that is broken. For instance a door with a swipe reader on it, would be more someone with an electronics skills set than a joiner.

Duty Free - The area airside in the UK where passengers can stock up on reduced or tax free goods dependent upon their destination.

Digilock - A metal alpha numeric push button door lock usually needs reset if everyone knows the code.

Escalator - Passenger transport of a kind, device used to move people between floors. These are deemed passenger sensitive when they are not running as they slow down the time for people to get from one place to another ie boarding a flight.  When escalators are not running near a particular area an airline can reclaim money against the airport for the out of service time of the escalator.

Emergency Lighting - Lighting which should be on when the main lighting is not working.  If the emergency lighting is not working, persons may not know where to go or may fall and injure themselves possibly meaning liability against the airport.

Engineering - The department who look after the equipment, the infrastructure, water, electrical services, air conditioning, etc within an airport and it's grounds.

Engineers - The technicians, mechanically, electrically, electronically trained people who look after the assets of an airport by corrective or planned maintenance.  Contractors also look after equipment for instance inspections of lifts can be dealt with by Kone or Schindler.

FCU - Fan Coil Unit part of the heating and ventilation system within an airport.

FEGP - Fixed Electrical Ground Power used to give power to an aircraft on stand.  These can trip either individually or a bank or more of them causing major problems for an airport & airline.

FIDS - Flight Information Display Screen used by airports and airlines to give passengers the time of departures or arrivals.

FOD - Foreign Object Debris.  This is any item which is lying on the airfield and could cause harm to the runway or an aircraft.  Items could puncture an aircraft wheel or get sucked into an aircraft engine with fatal consequences.

FOD Bin - Where FOD is usually stored.

Forecourt - The area landside where passengers arrive or people wait to be collected or get taxi's or buses.


Gate - The point of departure or arrival for an aircraft and it's passengers.

Generator - An electrical device used to provide power.   There is also standby generator which can be used if necessary.


Holding Point - Area on airfield area on airfield where an aircraft is asked to hold til told otherwise by control tower.


Information Desk - The front line for passengers to go to for information.

Info Point - An automated information outlet either touchscreen or set information.

IPTV - Internet Protocol Television a system used by some airports to show set TV channels or in-house information concerning the airport for instance - What sort of liquids can be taken through security.


Jetty - A name for an airbridge.  Airbridges at large airports may have  an airbridge which has multiple bridges at the end to connect to an aircraft so you could have airbridge 510 with jetty's 510 A and 510 B.  Airbridges are again PSE or PSE equipment as aircraft must arrive and depart on time and also passengers must be able to board and decant speedily.  

Joiner / Carpenter - This skill set will look after wooden door repairs, digi locks, flooring, trip hazards, wall repairs assessment etc

Kilowatt - Unit of Energy.

Lights - Can be broken down to Terminal Lighting, Airfield Lighting, Emergency Lighting.  Lighting is critical to an airports operation.

Lift - Lifts can be passenger, disabled or cargo / retail lifts.  An incident where a there is an entrapment can be deemed both PSE and also Health and Safety.  Faults such as these would be dealt with urgently.  

MALMS - A device used to run over airfield lighting, usually on a trailer, to quickly check outages.  The device feeds back data to which technicians, maintenance managers and facilities managers can decide when to repair outages.


Nightshift - The time when engineers have access to fix things as they are not being used by the airport.  The runway can be checked both lighting and surface, X-Rays can be serviced, lighting can be replaced as no passengers below the high ceilings.



Passenger Conveyor - Paxcon - Travelator -  A device which people stand on which moves people short distances rather than having to walk.

PA System - System used to make announcements or emergency sounds.

PAVA - Public Announcement Voice Alarm  system.

Panic Alarm - Can be either handheld, on a wall or table, used at airports to alert other members of staff of safety or security issues.

Pier - The walkway airside which passengers use to get to the air bridge which will have their aircraft.  A pier is connected usually to a terminal building.

Planned Maintenance - A task which has to be carried out knowingly in the future usually with a specific respond by or SLA.  An example would be 6 monthly checks of fire doors.

Permit to Work - Generally any contractor must have a permit to work at an airport.  The contractor usually has to provide insurance details, risk assessments and method statements to the contractors office before getting access.

PTZ - Pitch Tilt Zoom is a type of camera used for monitoring areas such as queues or for security.  


Radio - Used by all manner of staff at airports to communicate with other members of staff. Either handheld or desk mounted. If hand held and need repaired then generally done under a swap system of broken with working.

RZ - Restricted Zone an area where perhaps only certain people are permitted to be,, such as non public or certain badge holders.

Reactive Task - A repair that has just happened, where a fault occurs and needs fixing.



Security Staff - The men, women and even animals who keep an airport safe for all. 

Sabre - A handheld device used for detecting narcotics and explosives, made by Smiths Detection.

SI - Statutory Inspection a task with more importance than planned maintenance.  This task usually must be carried out on the day, so for instance fire alarm checks on a set night must be carried out on that night shift. 

Shops - Airports realise that they make income from having reputable tenants and this is an increasing market for both airport and retail outlet.



TDZ - Touchdown Zone lights give an indication of where the start of the runway is for a aircraft to safely begin to touchdown.

Tenant - As with normal life a tenant at an airport is no different they are renting a specific area to use and are under a tenancy agreement.  This agreement would include what they can and can't do at the airport and also who looks after the equipment in the property during this tenancy.  For instance a tenant may wish to look after their own lighting and bulb replacement.

Tensa Barrier - A small barrier waste height with a ribbon used to control where passengers go.  Exactly the same device used in post offices to handle the queues.

Terminal -  A building within the airport which usually is made up of airside and landside areas. Within this there can be arrivals, departures, piers, security areas, shopping etc

Toilets - Male - Female - Disabled toilets at airports.  Generally maintained by external contractors.  Technicians electrical and building and civil look after the equipment inside unless otherwise agreed with external contractor.  For instance hand dryers occasionally looked after by contractor.



Underground -  Some areas have there own undergrounds or undergrounds operated by external companies.




Water - Water can be potable or grey water.  Depending on the fault and size of the airport this will either be a case for a plumber, water services team, or an external contractor.

WIGWAG - Airfield lighting



X Ray - Device used for scanning a passenger or container looking for anything which is banned or dangerous to go on a plane or to be delivered from it's origin or to a foreign country.  Rapiscan, BodyScanners are types of X Ray equipment.