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20 Aug 2019

Airport Aprons

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Recently we have found that there are a ridiculous number of questions in the Canadian RPAS exams around what to do at airports (not specifically RPAS). This is an article about only one of those sub-areas of information about airport operations.

In this article, as with any article that is meant to help answer exam questions, I have bolded the most important information.

What is an apron?

An airport apron is that part of an airport, other than the manoeuvring area, intended to accommodate the loading and unloading of passengers and cargo, the refuelling, servicing, maintenance and parking of aircraft and the movement of aircraft, vehicles and pedestrians to allow execution of those functions.

According to Airport Traffic Regulations there are several rules around the use of aprons. These include

  • Do not park on an apron without permission from the airport manager
  • Do not park in a restricted area unless permitted
  • Obey apron traffic control
  • Don’t speed (25KM/h max)
  • Don’t drive dangerously
  • Always use crosswalks when they are provided
  • Always use sidewalks when provided
  • No smoking
  • No fire
  • Stay out of restricted areas unless permitted by the airport manager

The Questions:

Who can give permission for pedestrians to walk on the apron?

Frustratingly, the question that is asked on the RPAS exam about permission to be a pedestrian on an apron cannot be answered by simply studying the materials available to us (regulations, AIM, and others).

We need to look at other regulations and who at an airport is able to give permission to be on the movement areas (not the apron) to see that the Aerodrome Operator and Air Traffic Control Unit have the ability to grant such permissions.