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About Airfront.21

airport photoAirfront.21 is your Internet resource on airports and their airfronts — our portals to the world. Airports are fast becoming mini-cities unto themselves. This is a new phenomenom, and there are few dedicated sources of information about their commercial dimensions. Airfront.21 strives to be just that.

We offer professional planners around the world up-to-date information relevant to airports, location circulation systems including APMs, airfront development statistics and trends, and much more. APMs now operate at some 30 airports around the world, and are underway at another dozen. To find out where, click here. To get full data on them, look at the Airports Database in the Products and Services section. Detailed project information is available in the Case Studies. Hard data for informed decision-making can be obtained in the Benchmarking Studies.

About the evolution of Airports into Airfronts

cars for rentHave you noticed that there are more and more airport-oriented businesses just outside the fences that secure the runway, terminals and other buildings on airport property? First, there were park+fly lots and motels catering to people with early morning departures or stranded due to grounded flights. Many of these motels/hotels now have well-used meeting rooms, ballrooms, business services, and other function facilities. Common now too is an array of competing car rental facilities. Flying in, renting a car, and driving to far-flung destinations is increasingly becoming the way to do business in the U.S. Less visible outside the airport fence are all the freight handling and cargo logistics activities. For people who travel a lot for personal reasons, easy access to the airport is more important these days. The airport is now a convenient meeting and shopping place.

bulldozerUrban planners have started to notice this. Around the airport – so crucial to the economic of their region as a gateway to the increasingly global economy – an airfront commercial district has sprung up. Its employment often rivals that in the struggling old downtown district. Little research has been done on this new land use phenomenon. Few have explored the potential for rationalizing haphazard development to create an economic development zone for attracting dynamic firms with great growth potential.

Unexplored Zoning and Land Use Issues

There are many practical questions. Does a hotel near an airport, for example, need as many parking spaces as one at a highway location? Does it matter whether or not the hotel will operate a van service to and from the airport? Will it make sense to require the hotel to participate in a consolidated transport service run by and for a group of competing and complementary facilities? Does an APM make sense? Could one be implemented to run on a profitable basis?growth means a need for planning

We all know that hotels, motels, meeting/show facilities, car rental operations, logistic firms, high-tech training and repair services, and many other commercial organizations that feed or depend heavily on aviation have proliferated along highways leading to major airports. Their needs and parameters, however, have received little attention from professional planners and local officials -- except by those dealing with aircraft noise and ground equipment air pollution. This is changing rapidly: the APA’s Transportation Planning Division, for example, has formed an Airport Focus Group.


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