Airport rail link
An airport rail link is a service providing passenger rail transport from an airport to a nearby city; by mainline- or commuter trains, rapid transit, people mover or light rail. Direct links operate straight to the airport terminal, while other systems require an intermediate use of people mover or shuttle bus.
Although airport rail links have been popular solutions in Europe and Japan for decades, only recently have links been constructed in North America and Oceania, and the rest of Asia. Advantages for the rider include faster travel time and easy interconnection with other public transport, while authorities have benefited from less highway and parking congestion, less pollution, and additional business opportunities. Additionally, the links benefit airports by drawing in more passengers via easy access.
- 1 Mass transit
- 2 Mainline rail
- 3 Shuttle
- 4 Connection types
- 4.1 One-seat ride via main-line train
- 4.2 One-seat ride via local public transport
- 4.3 Rail to airport people mover
- 4.4 Rail to bus to airport
- 5 Proposed airport rail links
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
For airports built within or close to the city limits, extending mass transit systems like rapid transit or light rail to airport terminals allows full integration with other public transport in the city, and seamless transport to all parts of town. Service frequency will be high, although travel time is a drawback as the services make many intermediate stops before reaching the city center. A common solution involves building a separate people mover from a mass transit station to the airport terminal, often using automated systems, allowing faster travel time and fare discrimination, for instance Orlyval.
The first rapid transit station to connect an airport with a mass transit system was the Berlin U-Bahn's Paradestraße station which opened in 1927 as Flughafen (Airport) and was built to provide direct access to Berlin Tempelhof Airport. The connection between Tempelhof Airport and the Berlin U-Bahn at Paradestraße was however revoked in 1937 and the preceding station Platz der Luftbrücke was instead granted that connection and remained so until Tempelhof Airport's closure in 2008. Other early examples of mass transit stations located at airports include the MBTA Blue Line's Airport station which is situated at Boston's Logan International Airport and opened for service in 1952 and rebuilt in 2004, and Cleveland RTA Rapid Transit Red Line's Cleveland Hopkins International Airport station which opened in 1968 and rebuilt in 1994.
Dedicated railway lines to airports have become popular since the 1980s, with airport terminals for airport express, intercity and commuter trains, allowing direct travel to the check-in halls. This solution requires the building of new track; a cheaper option is to open a new station on an existing line, connected to the airport by people mover or shuttle bus. An early example of a mainline rail station station built to serve an airport is Berlin Schönefeld Flughafen station which opened in 1951 and serves Berlin Schönefeld Airport, and another example is Frankfurt Airport regional station which opened in 1972 and is one of the two railway stations that serve Frankfurt Airport.
Integration with intercity services has produced alliances where airlines sell the connecting rail service. Central Europe has seen integration of high-speed rail into airports, with domestic and international TGV and ICE services from Charles de Gaulle International Airport and Frankfurt Airport. Because of this, many airport railway stations have received IATA codes.
Other airports instead use a high-speed airport express train to the city centre, especially if the airport is outside the urban area and some way from the mass transit system, but a direct downtown service is required, such as Flytoget serving Oslo Airport, Gardermoen. Other airports, such as London Heathrow Airport, are served by both express trains and mass transit.
These solutions often have the drawback of lower frequencies (e.g. twice per hour).
Where there is no train station at the airport, a shuttle system is required for the last part of the journey; using either a people mover (often automated, such as AirTrain JFK in New York City) or a bus. The former allows low operating costs and higher perceived quality; the latter does not require specialized infrastructure to be built, and is often the preferred choice at smaller or low-cost airports. Shuttles do not provide a direct connection, and often involve a wait for a transfer to the next stage of the journey. Thus their market shares are often lower.
In some airports, such as San Francisco International Airport, the rail link only serves one terminal or concourse directly; passengers using other terminals must use an airport circulator. Circulators typically also serve parking lots, and sometimes airport hotels and off-site car rental locations.
One-seat ride via main-line train
Commuter rail-type service directly from a city centre to the airport, without needing to change trains and sometimes without intermediate stops;
- Changchun Longjia International Airport via Changchun–Jilin Intercity Railway
- Haikou Meilan International Airport via Hainan Eastern Ring Railway
- Hong Kong International Airport via Airport Express
- İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport via Suburban Train of İzmir
- Kuala Lumpur International Airport via KLIA Ekspres
- Medan Kuala Namu International Airport via Railink
- Nagoya Chubu Centrair International Airport via Nagoya Railroad's Meitetsu Airport Line
- New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport via the Reliance Airport Express
- Osaka Kansai International Airport via JR West's Haruka and Nankai Railway's Rapi:t
- Sapporo Chitose International Airport via JR Hokkaido's Chitose Line
- Seoul Incheon and Gimpo airports via A'REX
- Sendai Airport via Sendai Airport Line
- Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport via Beijing–Guangzhou High-Speed Railway
- Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport via Israel Railways
- Tokyo Narita International Airport via JR East's Narita Express and Keisei Electric Railway's Skyliner
- Tokyo Haneda International Airport via Tokyo Monorail
- Taiwan Taoyuan International airport express from Taipei Main Station under construction from 2006–2013. Part of Taoyuan Mass Rapid Transit System.
- Amsterdam Schiphol Airport via the Thalys and Dutch Railways
- Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport via the Proastiakos suburban railway service
- Barcelona International Airport via RENFE commuter train
- Berlin Brandenburg Airport via regional, InterCity, InterCityExpress and EuroCity rail (starting March 2013)[dated info]
- Birmingham Airport via Arriva Trains Wales, CrossCountry, London Midland and Virgin Trains.
- Brussels Airport via National Railway Company of Belgium
- Budapest Ferihegy International Airport by MÁV (to and from the now defunct Terminal 1 only)
- Cologne Bonn Airport via ICE high-speed, regional and local trains.
- Copenhagen Airport via Kystbanen and InterCity services; direct trains to many cities in Denmark and Sweden.
- Douglas, Isle of Man via Isle of Man Steam Railway
- Düsseldorf International Airport via ICE high-speed, InterCity, regional and local trains.
- Frankfurt International Airport via ICE high-speed, InterCity, regional and local trains.
- Friedrichshafen Airport near Lake Constance by regional train.
- Geneva-Cointrin Airport via Swiss Federal Railways
- Glasgow, Prestwick International Airport via the Ayrshire Coast Line
- Helsinki, Helsinki-Vantaa Airport vai Ring Rail Line (currently under construction until July 2015) 
- Kazan International Airport via Aeroexpress to Kazan–Passazhirskaya
- Krakow Airport to/from city center via local trains
- Leipzig/Halle Airport via local and InterCity trains.
- Heathrow Airport via Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect.
- Gatwick Airport via Gatwick Express and other Brighton Main Line services.
- Stansted Airport via Stansted Express, Greater Anglia and CrossCountry.
- Luton Airport via Thameslink or East Midlands Trains.
- Southend Airport via Greater Anglia service.
- Lyon airport via TGV.
- Lübeck, Lübeck Airport non-stop via regional trains.
- Manchester Airport (TransPennine Express, Northern Rail operated as per a normal train service).
- Malaga Airport via Cercanias Malaga service.
- Milan Malpensa International Airport via Malpensa Express.
- Moscow. All services are operated by Aeroexpress company
- Oslo Airport, Gardermoen via the Airport Express Train and InterCity trains.
- Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport via TGV to many French cities.
- Palermo Airport via local trains
- Pisa Galileo Galilei International Airport: connections to Pisa's central station and Florence
- Rome Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport via Leonardo Express
- Sochi International Airport via Aeroexpress
- Southampton Airport by South West Trains and CrossCountry
- Stockholm Arlanda via Arlanda Express and InterCity, and local commuter trains.
- Strasbourg Airport via TER Alsace regional trains
- Vienna International Airport via City Airport Train (CAT)
- Vilnius International Airport via Lithuanian Railways
- Vladivostok International Airport via Aeroexpress, also makes several stops along the way in a commuter service
- Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport via Szybka Kolej Miejska (Warsaw).
- And new Modlin Airport being built for no-frills airlines (rail to be opened later)
- Trondheim Airport, Norway, via regional trains on Nordlandsbanen.
- Zurich-Kloten International Airport via Swiss Federal Railways
- Anchorage International Airport via Alaska Railroad (Service available to cruise passengers only)
- Burbank Bob Hope Airport (Los Angeles area) via Metrolink and Amtrak
- Denver International Airport via Regional Transportation District East Rail Line (Complete 2016)
- Philadelphia International Airport via SEPTA Regional Rail
- Providence T.F. Green Airport via MBTA Commuter Rail
- South Bend Regional Airport via South Shore Line (NICTD)
- Toronto Pearson International Airport via Union Pearson Express (Under construction, complete 2015)
One-seat ride via local public transport
Many cities also provide a link to their airports through their rapid transit or light rail systems, which, unlike express trains, often make numerous stops on the way to the airport. At some airports, such as O'Hare in Chicago or Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta, the rapid transit train only visits one terminal or concourse; passengers must transfer to an airport circulator to reach other terminals or concourses.
- Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport via Suvarnabhumi Airport City Line
- Beijing Capital International Airport via Beijing Subway Airport Line
- Busan Gimhae International Airport via BGLRT
- Chongqing Jiangbei International Airport via Line 3
- Dubai International Airport via Dubai Metro Red Line
- Fukuoka Airport via Fukuoka Subway
- Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport via Line 3
- Gwangju International Airport via Gwangju Subway Line 1
- İzmir Adnan Menderes Airport via Suburban Train of İzmir
- Kaohsiung International Airport via Kaohsiung Mass Rapid Transit Red Line
- Kolkata Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport via Kolkata Suburban Railway Airport Line EMUs (known as BimanBandar Locals)
- Kobe Airport via Port Liner
- Kuala Lumpur International Airport via the KLIA Transit
- Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport via Mumbai Metro (under construction)
- New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport via Delhi Airport Metro Express (Golden line of Delhi Metro)
- Naha Airport via Okinawa Monorail
- Osaka International Airport (Itami) via Osaka Monorail
- Seoul Gimpo International Airport via Seoul Subway Line 5 & Seoul Subway Line 9
- Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport via Luobao Line
- Singapore Changi Airport via SMRT Corporation's East West MRT Line (cross-platform interchange at Tanah Merah MRT Station since 2004, shuttle service only)
- Tokyo Haneda Airport via Tokyo Monorail's Local and Rapid services or Keihin Electric Express Railway
- Athens Eleftherios Venizelos Airport via the Athens Metro
- Berlin Brandenburg Airport via Berlin S-Bahn (beginning 3 June 2012, Berlin-Schonefeld International Airport connected until then)
- Bremen Airport by Bremer Straßenbahn
- Copenhagen Airport via Copenhagen Metro
- Dresden Airport via Dresden S-Bahn
- Frankfurt International Airport via Rhein-Main S-Bahn and Regional-Express.
- Hamburg Airport via Hamburg S-Bahn, mass rapid transit, green line
- Hannover Airport via S-Bahn
- Istanbul Ataturk International Airport via Istanbul's Light metro
- Kerry Airport via Iarnrod Eireann services to Farranfore from Tralee and Mallow
- Lisbon Airport via Lisbon Metro
- Lyon Airport via Rhônexpress
- Madrid Barajas International Airport via Madrid Metro Line 8. It used to have check-in facilities in the city center terminus of the line, that has been abandoned due to high costs and low use. Also via Cercanías Madrid commuter trains by RENFE (which commenced service in 2011).
- Munich International Airport via Munich S-Bahn
- Newcastle Airport via the Tyne and Wear Metro
- Nuremberg Airport via Nuremberg U-Bahn
- Oporto via Metro do Porto
- Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport via RER B
- Stuttgart Airport via Stuttgart S-Bahn
- Turin Caselle Airport via Turin Metro
- Vienna International Airport via Vienna S-Bahn
- Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (domestic terminal) via MARTA
- Baltimore-Washington International Airport via Baltimore Light Rail
- Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport via Cleveland Rapid Transit (the first direct rail connection in the United States)
- Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport via Orange Line (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) (under construction, complete December 2014)
- Mexico City International Airport via the Mexico City Metro's Line 5
- Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport via the Hiawatha Line
- Portland International Airport via Portland MAX
- Salt Lake City International Airport via TRAX (Green Line)
- San Francisco International Airport via Bay Area Rapid Transit
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport via Central Link
- St. Louis' Lambert-St. Louis International Airport via the St. Louis MetroLink
- Vancouver International Airport via SkyTrain Canada Line
- Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport via the Washington Metro
Rail to airport people mover
A hybrid solution adopted in some cities is a direct rail connection to an airport train station instead of to the airport itself. At the airport train station, the passenger switches to a people mover or other train that goes to the airport terminals. The same system can also serve passengers moving between different terminals and traveling between the terminals and car rental lots or parking areas. Several very large airports have rail stations near some terminals, but people movers are used by many to get to some other terminals. Examples: Paris-de Gaulle and San Francisco.
- Paris Orly Airport via Orlyval, a people mover that connects to the RER network at Antony
- Birmingham International Airport via a pair of light-rail vehicles, connects the airport terminal to Birmingham International Railway Station, where the West Coast Main Line runs to Birmingham, Coventry and London
- Düsseldorf International Airport via SkyTrain a short suspension railway that connects the terminals with the airport railway station (see above)
- Chicago O' Hare International Airport via the Airport Transit System from Parking Lot E, a shuttle bus from O'Hare Metra station, and Metra's North Central Service.
- John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City via AirTrain JFK to Jamaica station (Long Island Rail Road trains and New York City Subway E J Z trains) or Howard Beach – JFK Airport (A train).
- Miami International Airport via an airport People Mover and Miami Central Station, which is a stop for the Miami-Dade Metrorail and a future stop for Amtrak and Tri-Rail (Under Construction)
- Newark Liberty International Airport via AirTrain Newark and its train station, a stop for Amtrak and NJ Transit (Used by Continental Airlines as if it were a connecting airline.)
- Oakland International Airport via Oakland Airport Connector, a future link between Coliseum Station (BART and Amtrak) and the Oakland International Airport via a mostly elevated automated people mover (APM) (Under Construction)
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport via PHX Sky Train to Washington at 44th Street Station of the Valley Metro Light Rail System
- San Francisco International Airport via AirTrain SFO. While the BART station is immediately adjacent to the International terminal and all terminals are physically connected, many people transfer to AirTrain to get to other terminals because of the airport's large size.
Rail to bus to airport
Another common arrangement requires the passenger to take a train (or metro) to a railway station (usually) near the airport and then switch to a bus that goes to the airport terminals. Most medium and large size airports have bus connections from the inner city. This list only contains connections by bus from a railway station strongly associated, by branding or by name, with the airport.
- Kuala Lumpur International Airport via KLIA Transit.
- Cheongju International Airport via shuttle bus from Korail Cheongju Airport Station
- Daegu International Airport via local buses from Daegu Subway Ayanggyo Station.
- Ninoy Aquino International Airport via shuttle bus from Taft Avenue MRT Station.
- Taichung International Airport via Taichung Bus number 9 and 69 from TRA Taichung Station or no. 115 from THSR Taichung Station and Xinwuri Station.
- Taoyuan International Airport via shuttle bus from THSR Taoyuan Station, via express bus from Taipei Station, TRA Taichung Station and TRA Changhua Station or via local bus from Banqiao Station, TRA Taoyuan Station, Zhongli Station and many Taipei Metro stations; however, taking the Airbus no. 2061 to TRA Linkou Line Nanshiang station is possible. The walking distance between the nearest bus stop Nankan Evergreen and the station is about 600 ft., but the train service is now discontinued.
- Aberdeen Airport, Scotland via Dyce railway station and 80 Dyce Airlink shuttle bus. In addition to linking the airport with Aberdeen, Dyce railway station also provides direct connections to Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness, as well as intermediate stations on those lines.
- Bristol Airport, England, by frequent express bus from Bristol Temple Meads railway station.
- Bucharest's Henri Coandă International Airport via P.O. Aeroport Station, located about 900 m from the airport, and a shuttle bus timed to offer connections with all trains (every half hour). Combo (bus plus train) tickets are sold under the 'Henri Coanda Express' brand.
- Cardiff International Airport, Wales via Arriva Trains Wales services and a frequent shuttle bus from Cardiff International Airport Station.
- Glasgow International Airport via shuttle bus from Paisley Gilmour Street railway station
- Liverpool John Lennon Airport via regular shuttle bus services from Liverpool South Parkway
- London Luton Airport via shuttle bus from Luton Airport Parkway railway station
- Moscow Sheremetyevo, buses and minibuses from the metro station Rechnoi Vokzal and Planernaya
- Moscow Domodedovo, buses and minibuses from the metro station Domodedovskaya
- Moscow Vnukovo, buses and minibuses from the metro stations Yugo-Zapadnaya and Oktyabrskaya
- Moss Airport, Rygge and Sandefjord Airport, Torp in Norway have free shuttle buses to nearby regional railway stations.
- St. Petersburg Pulkovo, minibuses from the metro station Moskovskaya
- Albuquerque International Sunport via a shuttle bus and the Bernalillo County/International Sunport stop for New Mexico Rail Runner Express service.
- Baltimore-Washington International Airport via a shuttle bus and the BWI Rail Station, a stop for Amtrak and MARC Penn Line service.
- Boston's Logan International Airport via:
- Edmonton International Airport via 747 shuttle bus to the Century Park Light Rail station.
- Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport via a shuttle bus to the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport Station
- Formerly, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City had a shuttle bus to the Howard Beach – JFK Airport station (A and JFK Express trains). The JFK Express trains were canceled in April 1990. The shuttle bus was replaced by AirTrain JFK in 2003.
- LaGuardia Airport all terminals via MTA New York City Bus:
- M60 Bus to Astoria Boulevard (New York City Subway N Q trains), 125th Street & Lexington Avenue (4 5 6 <6> trains), Harlem – 125th Street (Metro-North commuter trains), 125th Street & Lenox Avenue (2 3 trains), 125th Street & St. Nicholas Avenue (A B C D trains) and Cathedral Parkway – 110th Street (1 train).
- Q48 Bus to 111th Street (7 train), Mets – Willets Point (7 <7> trains and seasonal Long Island Rail Road trains), Flushing – Main Street (7 <7> trains and Long Island Rail Road trains).
- Los Angeles International Airport via a shuttle bus and the Metro Green Line or Amtrak California or FlyAway Bus
- Miami International Airport via shuttle bus and Tri-Rail or Metrorail
- Milwaukee's General Mitchell International Airport via a shuttle bus and Amtrak.
- Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport via AirConnect shuttle bus and Via Rail or the STM 747 Express Bus to Lionel-Groulx metro station or directly downtown.
- Newburgh, NY – Stewart International Airport via the Leprechaun Lines commuter bus to Beacon station (Metro-North commuter trains) to New York City.
- Oakland International Airport via AirBART and BART, Amtrak Capitol Corridor and the future Oakland Airport Connector
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport via shuttle to Washington at 44th Street Station of the Valley Metro Light Rail System
- San Jose International Airport via a shuttle bus from the Santa Clara Caltrain station or VTA's Metro/Airport Light Rail Station.
- Washington Dulles International Airport via Washington Flyer or Dulles Flyer to the West Falls Church station (Washington Metro trains).
- São Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport via Airport Bus Service from São Paulo Metro Palmeiras-Barra Funda or Portuguesa-Tiete Station.
- Porto Alegre - Salgado Filho Airport via Porto Alegre Metro to Downtown Porto Alegre - São Leopoldo.
- Recife - Guararapes–Gilberto Freyre Airport via Recife Metro to Downtown Recife - Camaragibe.
- Melbourne, Australia:
Other cities are considering airport rail link services.
- Alexandria, Egypt
- Cape Town, South Africa – a R3.5 billion rail link between Cape Town International Airport and Cape Town Station is planned to start construction in 2013.
- Dubai Metro – Purple Line – express route between Dubai International Airport and Al Maktoum International Airport
- Greater Manila's Clark International Airport via Airport Railway (planned)
- Jakarta's Soekarno-Hatta International Airport via express airport train to Manggarai Station in South Jakarta, construction to begin in 2014
- Tianjin Binhai International Airport via proposed extension of Tianjin Metro Line 2
- Belgrade Airport is to be connected with city via airport express bus. Airport is currently connected with public transport's line 72, but it runs on every 30–40 minutes and ride is around 60 to 90 minutes long. There are also plans for constructing rail link.
- Dublin Airport in Dublin, Ireland is one of the main destinations of the (in planning) Dublin Metro.
- Edinburgh Airport will be served by the Edinburgh tram network in 2014 which will link into a new airport railway station on the existing Edinburgh to Aberdeen railway line.
- Gdańsk Lech Wałęsa Airport - there are plans for a railway link to Gdansk Glowny with planned opening by 2016
- Helsinki Airport in Finland, where a suburban railway, the Ring Rail Line is under construction which will connect to the airport. Traffic opening expected in 2015.
- In Kiev, Ukraine there are plans for a railway link between Boryspil Airport and Kiev Passenger Railway Station. Forecast opening is 2015.
- Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport via new CDG Express service, operated by SNCF, to Gare de l'Est.
- Prague Ruzyně Airport, proposed in 2008
- Wrocław–Copernicus Airport is planned to get an underground station below the airport, to be finished around 2010–2015.
- Calgary International Airport - plans are being developed to extend the C-Train to the airport in the northeast of the city.
- Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport - plans are being finalized to connect two routes offering a one-seat ride:
- The DART's Cotton Belt Rail Line. Initially planned to open in 2013, 2016 seems to be more likely. The service will run West to East, connecting Grapevine, Texas to Plano, Texas.
- The FWTA's TEX Rail. Initially planned to open in 2013, 2016 seems to be more likely. The service will run Northeast to Southwest, connecting the Airport to Downtown Fort Worth.
- Edmonton International Airport - an extension of the LRT is proposed to connect to downtown.
- Las Vegas has an ongoing discussion about extending the monorail intoMcCarran International Airport. Also in the Vegas area, the planned Ivanpah Airport is sited on the right of way for the proposed maglev demonstration project.
- Montreal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport - there are discussions of a direct rail link to either Gare Centrale or Lucien L'Allier train station.
- New York City's LaGuardia Airport has been proposed to be reached by extensions of the New York City Subway or AirTrain JFK.
- Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport - there have been proposals to extend the O-Train to the airport, however, a feasibility study tabled in 2012 determined that, although it is possible to develop an airport link, it would not be possible until funds were allocated in the budget in 2031.
- Sacramento International Airport - future plans calls for a light rail line that would connect to Sacramento Station.
- Toronto Pearson International Airport - the Eglinton-Crosstown LRT line is planned to be extended to the airport in the future.
- Dulles International Airport will be served by Phase 2 of the Washington Metro Silver Line, now in planning.
- St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport - A Light Rail station is planned as part of a 16-station LRT system currently in the planning phase.
- In São Paulo, Line 14 of CPTM commuter rail service will link São Paulo International Airport to Luz Station. Construction will begin in 2013.
- Melbourne – Planning for a branch line off the Geelong line near Lara Station to Avalon Airport has begun, and design funding provided for in the Victorian state budget.
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