Imagine your flight from Denver just landed safely at Harrisburg International Airport. Taxiing to the gate, a voice over the intercom says, “Please remain seated with your seat belts securely fastened until we have reached our final parking position.” The plane stops, the fasten seat belt lights go off, and the flight crew opens the doors to the aircraft, allowing everyone to exit the plane through the jet bridge.
Have you ever wondered how the pilot knows when the plane has reached its final parking position?
Pilots use lead-in lines painted on the tarmac to help guide the approach of the aircraft to the gate. Stop lines determine where an aircraft should park. The type, size, and purpose of the aircraft determines the precise location it should stop. Precision is important when establishing parking positions to allow adequate space between planes, and aid ground crew in things like refueling, luggage transfer, and attaching the jet bridge.
At HIA, we hired a contractor to remove existing lines and repaint new aircraft lead-in lines, in slightly different positions, so we can use gates B3 and B4 more efficiently. Now we can accommodate aircraft between the size of a 50-seat regional jet up to a 230-seat Airbus 321. Also, the new lines at gates B5 and B6 provide ample space for aircraft as large as Boeing 767’s, 777’s and 787’s.
As the industry continues to move away from flights using smaller regional jets to larger planes with more seats, this is one way HIA keeps pace with the constantly changing airline industry.