LED Lighting Guide for Airport Applications

Regardless of day or night, many passengers fly to their destinations via airports. Many people are on duty at the airports to ensure that passengers have a good trip. Apart from uncontrollable weather conditions during the journey, airports have a great responsibility to ensure the safety and security of both passengers and employees. Lighting and security are important factors. However, airport lighting is somewhat complicated due to its wide coverage, numerous regions and high demands. Lighting requirements differ as the architectural project, area and diameter of each airport are not the same. We will talk about the information about the LED lighting requirements of the runway lighting, taxiway and apron.

-Runway lighting

By marking the centerline and sides of the runway it is crucial for pilots to see the maneuvers that need to be performed such as distance, alignment, lateral displacement and roll and act on the lighted markings. Runway lighting systems can be made with various patterns, the reason for this is to enable the pilots to interpret the runway status according to the pattern. Thousands of lights are placed along the runway so that pilots, crew and passengers can land safely. This allows pilots to know if they are on the right track for landing and takeoff. The lights for the track are white and raised type. However, at the last 400 meters of the runway, there is a yellow instrument to remind the pilot to pay attention to the warning zone. The locations of the runway lights are arranged in such a way that they cannot protrude more than 1 cm from the road surface. The black hole effect usually occurs as pilots approach the runway. As the pilots concentrate their field of view on the centreline, the runway edge lights move very quickly on either side of the peripheral vision. The center area is colored black for pilots due to the contrast of peripheral, visual and central visual information.

-Taxi way

Aircraft travel at low speed on the taxiway. However, it is also possible for serious accidents to occur in poor visibility conditions. Adequate lighting and guidance along the taxiway are essential. The taxiway is close to the runway and the apron. Therefore, the taxiway should be easily recognized from the runway and apron with different lighting arrangements. Otherwise, the pilots may confuse the route between the runway and the apron. Taxiway-runway and taxiway-apron intersections should also be easily identified. Clear markings are not only useful for classifying the runway and taxiway, but also reduce the risk of accidents. The area of ​​the lights also affects the visual effects. A distance of about 6 m to 7.5 m for straight sections and between 3 m and 3.6 m for curves is appropriate. The requirement for the location of the edge lights on the taxiway is an acceptable distance of 75 cm below the pavement surface. When an aircraft is landing or taking off, the lighting at the taxiway edge is blue and the taxiway center is green. The colors must be different for the pilot to reach the correct traffic guide. Taxiway lights are versatile but not dazzling.


The apron is one of the busiest areas at the airport. Pilots, flight crew and passengers all benefit from this area. Lighting plays an important role in ensuring their safety and security. Adequate and uniform lighting is required on the apron. Pilots need comfortable lighting to taxi the plane. Passengers need proper lighting for boarding and commuting. Workers will need adequate lighting to load cargo. LED floodlights are often used on aprons due to their high output power and ability to illuminate large areas. It should be installed at least 15 m above the ground. However, the glare will reduce the pilots' field of view and cause sudden blindness in the "direction and guide" markings.

Intrusion lighting can distract tower personnel and cause misdirection. Today, LED lights have shields to reduce irritating glare and intrusive lighting.
To achieve proper apron lighting, ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) has announced apron lighting requirements. The requirements are as follows;
The average horizontal illumination on the apron should not be less than 10 lux. (except areas with service functions).
The optimum homogeneity ratio of the apron lighting is 4:1. (average to minimum)
Average horizontal illumination should be 10 lux for the areas between aircraft stands and apron (parking area, service roads).
A major airport may have over 30,000 lights, most of which are on all day. This means a huge energy consumption for airport lighting. LED lights are the optimal choice for airport lighting due to their high efficiency and energy savings. They can save up to 80% energy compared to traditional light sources. LED lights are long lasting which means they are cost effective. In addition, LEDs can offer multiple color options, ideal for marking and guiding different parts of the airport. This is the outstanding feature of LEDs as other light sources do not have color customization. Airport lighting can also be affected by extreme high temperature, snow, sunlight, vibration, etc. must be able to withstand harsh environments such as LED lights to airports must be waterproof and corrosion resistant.