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A jet bridge (also termed jetway,[1] airgate, gangway, aerobridge idge, air jetty, portal, skybridge, finger, airtube (tube), or its official industry name passenger boarding bridge (PBB)) is an enclosed, movable connector which most commonly extends from an airport terminal gate to an airplane, and in some instances from a port to a boat or ship, allowing passengers to board and disembark without going outside and being exposed to the elements.[2] Depending on building design, sill heights, fueling positions, and operational requirements, a jet bridge may be fixed or movable, swinging radially, and/or extending in length.[2]The%20Administration%20of]]The%20Administration%20of]]The%20Administration%20of]]The%20Administration%20of]]The%20Administration%20of]]he jetway was invented by Frank Der Yuen.

Similar devices are used for astronauts to enter spacecrafts, which are installed in the appropriate height of the launch tower.


Before the introduction of jet bridges, passengers normally boarded an aircraft by walking along the ground-level ramp and climbing a set of movable stairs, or airstairs on aircraft so equipped. Mobile staircases or "ramp stairs" are employed at many airports around the world, particularly smaller airports and terminals supporting low cost carriers.

United Airlines tested an early prototype "Air Dock" in 1954.[4] The first operational "Aero-Gangplank", as it was dubbed by inventor Lockheed Air Terminal, was installed by United at Chicago's O'Hare Airport in 1958.[5][6]


Jet bridges provide all-weather dry access to aircraft and enhance the security of terminal operations.

Some airports with international gates have two or three bridges for larger aircraft with multiple entrances.

Though loading bridges are usually permanently attached at their terminal-building end, leaving only the cab free to move, this is not always the case.


Loading bridges restrict aircraft parking to spots immediately adjacent to the terminal.

Loading bridges may pose hazards to aircraft if handled improperly.

When regional jets are used, jet bridges have another disadvantage, since they allow only one aircraft to park at the gate at a time.

Several incidents of jet bridges collapsing include Sydney,[7][8] Hong Kong, Seattle, Los Angeles, Baltimore, [9] and Islamabad.[10][11]

Airlines like Ryanair forego the use of jet bridges for reasons of cost.

Use at small airports

Jet bridges are occasionally used at smaller, single-story airports.

Use and appearance

At the airport terminal, the bridge is connected to a portal (called a "gate") in the terminal wall behind the gate desk. Once airplane boarding starts, passengers hand their boarding passes to the gate's attendant, who lets them pass through.

Inside, the bridge looks like a narrow, lighted hallway in an office building, without doors.

By using a retractable tunnel design, loading bridges may retract and extend varying lengths.

The cab of the loading bridge is raised and lowered to dock with aircraft of differing sill heights.

Controls in older systems contain a large number of individual motor control buttons, with efficient operation requiring a high degree of operator skill and experience.

Marketing space on jetways was uncommon until the early 2000s when HSBC launched their campaign "The World's Local Bank.[12]

Peter Stringham, head of marketing for HSBC worldwide,[12] worked closely with Lowe's, the Group's global agency, in developing the campaign which required a single global platform.

HSBC thus bought the rights to jetways across major localities in 81 countries and territories.[15]

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