Airport Fencing: A Buyer’s Guide

Airport Fencing: A Buyer’s Guide

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When it comes to important infrastructure, no one can argue that airports are high on the list. After all, according to the latest statistics, there are about 100,000 global flights every day. That’s a lot of people and cargo moving from one place to another, most of which happens through airports.

Airports are also very large pieces of commercial property, with plenty of other buildings and facilities aside from terminals and runways, and it all has to be kept protected so that passengers and cargo are safe and can get to their destinations without incident. So, let’s take a closer look at airport fencing and how it keeps these important pieces of infrastructure safer.

Why Do Airports Need Fencing?

There are several reasons why airports need fencing, and usually, the reason for the fence will influence the type of fencing required.

First, there are animals and livestock. Airports tend to be built outside of the hustle and bustle of big cities, but that usually means they are built near farmland and natural spaces where livestock and even wild animals live. It’s not safe to have animals in airports or on runways, so one big reason for airport fencing is to keep animals safely out of the airside of the airport.

Next, there’s the issue of keeping the public safe. Even though it might seem impossible, there have been cases where people have simply wandered into the airside of airports, and not only does this create chaos for flights and airport staff, but it’s also incredibly dangerous for the person doing the wandering!

There are also a lot of very valuable pieces of equipment on airport sites, and this might be the target of theft. In some parts of the world, scrap metal theft could even cause airports to grind to a halt. So many airport fences around the world are designed to keep would-be thieves out.

Finally, there’s the growing threat of terror attacks. No one wants to think about it, but we’ve all seen the videos from 9/11 when terrorists used planes and weapons, and there’s always the chance that either an airport or an aircraft will once again be the target of terror attacks.

With so many different reasons for airport fencing, it’s no wonder that there are many different types of airport fencing around the world!

What Kind of Fencing Is Used at Airports?

As you can see from the list of reasons why airports need fencing, there are many different reasons why a fence might be installed around an airport, and often, the reason for the fence determines what kind of fence is installed. Some of the more common types of fencing used at airports include:

  • Farm fencing, including agricultural mesh fences and barbed wire fences, is used to keep livestock off the airport property.
  • Game fences might be used around airports in places where wildlife like deer might be present, and they are designed to keep the animals out as much as possible.
  • Lower security fences like chain link fences are used at airports in some parts of the world, but because they are fairly easy to get through, over, or under, they usually need to be combined with other security measures.
  • Metal fence systems like bar fences, palisade fences, and ornamental fences are another popular choice for airport perimeters in some parts of the world.
  • Welded mesh fence systems, including vee beam styles and even 358 welded mesh panel fencing, have also been used at airports in some parts of the world.
  • Some airports even require special types of fencing that are not visible on radar or similar products.

Generally, the more likely an airport is to experience uninvited visitors of any type, the higher security the fence system will be.

In some places where very high-security airport fencing systems are required, additional security features like razor coils, electric fences, or taut wire might be used to add extra security to an airport perimeter fence. If there’s a chance that animals or people might dig under an airport fence, underground security is usually also used to help mitigate that risk.

Other Physical Security Measures on Airport Perimeters

Since airports are such important places, and since they have so many different areas that require different levels of access, there are many other kinds of physical security measures used on airport perimeters.

These might include things like bollards in areas where people need access but vehicles are not allowed and a huge variety of manual and automated gates, often with complex access control systems.

Most airports also have integrated perimeter security measures that might include infrared beams, CCTV cameras, security lighting, and more.

The fencing requirements on airport properties are not only limited to the perimeter of the property.

Many airports have a large amount of interior fencing inside terminals, in baggage handling areas, in bond store areas, and more. These fences are also widely varied in terms of security and specification.

Finding a Contractor to Install Airport Fencing

One of the more complex issues when planning an airport fence project is finding the right contractor.

Of course, you need a company that is skilled and experienced in the type of fence you want to install, but you also need to choose one that meets airport security requirements, which often means getting special clearances for employees.

Many airports also require all staff working on a project to complete special airside safety training, and they often need to have detailed tool lists and other security documentation whenever they go in and out of the airport property.

Airport Security Fencing Standards

The last thing we need to talk about when it comes to airport fencing is the fact that there are vastly different standards in different countries and different organizations that oversee them all.

For instance, in the United States, you might look at the Airport Construction Standards on the Federal Aviation Administration website, while in the United Kingdom, you’d need to consult the Civil Aviation Authority. In South Africa, you would need to follow the Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA’s) guidelines, and in Australia, it’s the Airport Building Controller (ABC) that sets construction and fencing standards.

Often, airport fencing standards are fairly broad, and they often focus on performance requirements rather than specific products. Airport fencing standards do also change over time, often becoming more secure as time goes on. So, even if you’ve installed or designed airport fencing before, it’s always a good idea to check what the latest regulations are.

Airport fences should also be planned for the future. An airport perimeter is a very long fence line, and the last thing you want is to discover that the perimeter fence you’ve installed is not up to the job. Consider security trends in the area and design a fence that will meet the security needs of their airport today and in five or ten years’ time. You could also design a fence that can be upgraded over time if necessary.

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