The Functional Advantages of Aircraft Passenger Stairs
Air travel has come a long way since its inception. From the primitive biplanes of the early 20th century to the sleek, state-of-the-art jets of today, the industry has undergone a significant transformation. However, despite the many advancements in aviation technology, one feature persists from the bygone era – the aircraft passenger stairs.
If you’ve ever traveled on a regional airline or a charter flight, you’ve likely encountered these stairs. They are mobile staircases that are positioned near the plane’s entrance, allowing passengers to climb up to board the aircraft. In contrast to the more modern jet bridges or air gates, aircraft passenger stairs appear quaint, almost nostalgic, in their design.
But why do some airlines still use them? Are they just remnants of a bygone era or do they serve a functional purpose? Let’s explore.
Airlines That Use Aircraft Passenger Stairs
Firstly, it’s worth noting that not all airlines use aircraft passenger stairs. The majority of commercial airlines opt for jet bridges or air gates. However, some airlines, mainly those operating regional flights or charter services, continue to use these stairs.
Why? Aircraft passenger stairs are considerably cheaper than jet bridges. Installing a jet bridge requires significant infrastructure, including a fixed terminal building and movable jetway.
Additionally, some airports need more space to install jet bridges. That is especially true in older, more compact airports where expansion may not be feasible. In such cases, these stairs offer a viable alternative for boarding passengers.
The Functionality of Aircraft Passenger Stairs
Beyond cost and space considerations, these stairs also offer some functional advantages. For instance, you can use them in situations where jet bridges may not be suitable or safe. In an emergency evacuation, for example, passengers may need to exit the plane quickly and safely. In such cases, aircraft passenger stairs provide a simple and efficient means of disembarkation.
Moreover, you can use the best aircraft passenger stairs to board planes parked on a remote stand. Such stands are located from the main terminal building and don’t have jet bridges. In such cases, passengers are ferried to the plane via a shuttle bus and then use aircraft passenger stairs to board.
The Future of Aircraft Passenger Stairs
Despite their many advantages, they have their drawbacks. For one thing, they can hinder passengers with reduced mobility. Climbing up and down a steep staircase can be challenging for the elderly, disabled or those traveling with young children. Jet bridges, on the other hand, provide a more seamless and accessible boarding experience.
Additionally, aircraft passenger stairs can be exposed to the elements, making them uncomfortable or unsafe in adverse weather conditions. Rain, wind, or snow can make the stairs slippery and hazardous, leading to accidents or delays.
Nevertheless, there is no denying that they still have a place in the modern aviation industry. As air travel continues to expand and evolve, these stairs will likely remain a fixture for smaller airlines and remote airports.
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The aircraft passenger stairs may seem nostalgic remnants of a bygone era, but they are far from obsolete. They continue to serve a functional purpose for smaller airlines and airports, offering a cost-effective and efficient means of boarding passengers. As air travel evolves, seeing how these stairs adapt and grow alongside it will be interesting.
Are you interested in learning more about the aviation industry? Contact Dow Aero, your one-stop solution for all things aviation. From aircraft maintenance to spare parts procurement, we have you covered.