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Airports and SimCity 4

Started by adroman, November 20, 2010, 10:22:23 PM

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Airports and SimCity 4
Part One - Getting Started

Okay, I assume you're reading this because you have a developing (or more matured :D) interest in building a realistic airport for your booming region... and I know the Maxis airports are lacking in... class? ::)

A brief introduction to airports... and how they relate to SimCity 4.

The airport is a terminus and ideally serves a population base. It has facilities to accommodate aircraft that it is designed to serve, such as light aircraft, helicopters through to the massive wide body aircraft (the 747, A380, etc.) some airports also accommodate defence force aircraft, from light trainers to jet fighters and the enormous transport planes that an Air Force/Aviation Regiment may have. For now, we'll focus on the Civil side of airports.

The first Aviation custom equipment kits were released shortly after the initial release of SimCity 4, the first was the Air Force Base that Maxis released and is still available on their site. Up until the release of the revolutionary Runway Marking Improvement Pack (RMIP, for short), the Aviation gatherings focused on Automata skinning and relotting the Maxis airports.
Today the aviation groups are focusing on BATting static aircraft and BATting custom terminals, along with much improved runways and taxiways. The RMIP series is still going strong, with Series 2 being the latest public release, and Series 3 being produced at the present time.
If you play SimCity 4 for the (umm...) mayor ratings and those sort've things, the Aerospace Consortium has released a Functional Airport kit, that is available on the LEX (link at bottom of this post).

I am going to assume you're reading this because you want a realistic airport, as you might find in most centres across the globe. I also assume that you have a base level knowledge of aviation (i.e. aeroplanes need runways to take off). I will also guide you on what sized airport will suit your region, which aircraft to put in them... about the only thing I won't do is tell you how to build your runways, that tutorial already exists.

Let's get started!

Let's have a quick look at what kind've airports that are in existence, and which are the most feasible for SimCity 4. Usually an airport can serve most of a SC4 Region tile, realistically. Unless you wish to have a secondary airport or whatever for smaller aircraft or domestic services...
Now, let's take a look:

The small town... About 2,000-10,000 people, revenue (Airline) services by Turboprop aircraft (more on that later):

Overview of the area.

Up close of the "terminal".

As you can see, the airport is relatively small, the runway would be about 1.7 kilometers, it's sealed runway, so it can handle up to private jets. This kind've airport's terminal would only be about 2x3 tiles at the very most.
How it would look in SC4, roughly...

The Large Town... 10,000-60,000 people. This airport may be lucky to have jet services, if so, only up to a 737 sized aircraft.

Overview of the airport.

Up close with the terminal, notice there's only two gates, which signifies how much traffic this airport gets... not a great deal.

The airport would have a runway of about the same as the previous airport. This airport may have an Air Traffic Control tower at this stage, but it may not.

In SC4...

Small city approximately 60,000-100,000 people. Maximum sized aircraft: Boeing 737/Airbus A320.
This sized airport is becoming a hub for the region, connecting flights with the smaller airports, connecting flights to the International airports. This sized airport will also gain a freight apron, for the turboprop freighters that are operated on smaller routes such as to these airports. The runway for this airport may be reaching 2 kilometres, depending on the aircraft used, for Boeing 737s and A320s, 2km is a good length. This airport will definitely require an Air Traffic Control Tower.

Overview of the airport

The terminal, the airport may get one or two jetways (see below) by now, but the majority of traffic would be on remote stands (more later)

Here's some pictures I've gathered from MD's and the Show Us your Airport thread:

A Cargo Apron by joelyboy911 (taken from the Thames District MD)

Remote stands by joelyboy911 (taken from the Thames District MD)

Jetways for Domestic Flights by joelyboy911 (taken from the Thames District MD)

Regional jet gates by Zacharuno (found in the S.U.Y.A. thread)

The Small International airport approximately 100,000 to 1 million people.

This airport will start handling aircraft flying internationally, depending where you live in the world you will see a mix of Boeing 737s and A320s right up to the Boeing 767s and the Airbus A330s. This airport will be jetway equipped and have a runway length of about 3 kilometres. The largest jump in Terminal Size occurs here, as the terminal must now hold customs and immigrations facilities, among other security checks.

An overview of such an airport.

The terminal area, note the structure, the part of the terminal running North East is the international area, while the South East arm is the domestic area.

Back in game...

A few international flights, including a Boeing 767

Terminal shot

The domestic wing

the rest of the terminal

Medium international airport approximately 1 million people upward.

This airport handles major flights across the globe and domestically. It is equipped to accommodate the biggest Airliner in the world, the A380. It may serve has a hub for an international airline.

An overview of such an airport.

The main terminal facility.

More from SimCity...

An overview of a mid-sized international airport by ManuelR (found in the S.U.Y.A. thread)

Lotsa' planes by ManuelR (found in the S.U.Y.A. thread)

Large international airport...

I'm not going anywhere near these monsters!

Now, in review:

Small airport - 2,000-10,000 people - Turboprops - 1.7km
Medium airport - 10,000-60,000 people - Small jets - 1.7km
Large airport - 60,000-100,000 people - Narrowbody jets - 2km
Sm. International - 100,000-1mil people - Mid range airliners - 3km
Md. International - 1mil upward - All airliners - 4km
Lg. International - Megapolis - All airliners -; 4km, multiple runways

I hope that makes your decision on what type of airport is suitable for your city/region much easier.

At this point, I should point out I'm not writing about the intricacies of building the runways and taxiways, that's much better explained here... and if it ain't broke, don't fix it.


This is possibly the most daunting part of building a realistic airport. I'll give a rough overview of aeroplanes I've mentioned here:

Small Aircraft, also known as General Aviation, are the Cessnas and small planes like that, may be as big as a 6/8 seater.

Turboprops, that's a distinction based on propulsion type, but Turboprops are small aircraft that sit up to about 80 people within them. Common examples include the ATR-42, ATR-72 and the Dash 8 series (all being produced by the SCAG at present, see board for details). May also be used as air freighters, usually older airliners that have been converted.

Narrowbody Jets, good examples of these are the Boeing 737 and the Airbus A320. Also extends to the Canadair Regional Jets. Used mostly in domestic work, but they often fly internationally, too. These have been BATted by both the AC and SCAG teams. Can be found at both jetway and non-jetway (remote) stands. The largest narrowbodies are the Boeing 757s (BATted by both AC and SCAG)

Widebody Jets, the big boys of aviation. Anything larger than the Boeing 767 (currently being BATted by the SCAG) up to the A380. These aircraft are found almost exclusively at jetways. Currently, the only widebodies that have been produced by either the AC or SCAG team are the 747s, which are found on the STEX. Currently, every common widebody (Boeing and Airbus) has been modelled by either team, and are in various stages of production.

Essential Links

A more complete and in-depth list can be found here.

These packages will give you a firm grounding for developing your airport. RMIP packs are the most essential components of the SC4 Airport, followed by the ACB-VLT Terminals and Jets series. Of course, there are many other packs out there, and can be found across the SC4 exchanges, but I have linked to what I see as the premier aircraft packs.

For instructions on how to use these packs, I once again refer you to this tutorial

In Part Two we will look at the different types of Aircraft in a closer light, how to build realistic terminals.

I'll see you at Part Two!

If you have any questions or comments about this post, simply post in this thread or contact me via the Personal message system.  :thumbsup:
737s, Air Force, Australia... what next?


this is delicious, may convince me to build a modular airport after 5 years...
NAM + CAM + RAM + SAM, that's how I roll....


Quote from: mightygoose on November 21, 2010, 05:53:52 PM
this is delicious, may convince me to build a modular airport after 5 years...

Seconded.  :thumbsup:


I'm about to build my first *real looking airport* ever in my MD *Winding River Project* and hey.....this (thread) couldn't have come at a better time. Thanks a lot!
I was going to ask in a new thread which are the basic downloads for an non-expert of airports. Man, you made my week and saved me a lot of time. ;)Thanks.


....Uploading the MFP 1.... (.........Finishing the MFP1)


Funny enough, I builded a custom airport just the day before this tutorial got posted   ;)
Lurk mode: ACTIVE


Nice tutorial! The first time when I decided to build an airport was two years ago ;D But it seems I'll have to build one for my current and fast-developing region ::)
Visit my MD, The region of Pirgos!
Last updated: 28 November


Very nice tutorial....
*puts this one in favourites*

Robin  :thumbsup:
Call me Robin, please.


Very useful and informative. I look forward to putting the content here to good use!

Thank you for this & I'll be looking forward to part two &apls


I just finished downloading the stuff on your links above and all their dependencies. Oufff, took me a couple of hours of searching and downloading.
Finally I realized that this makes one huge folder (118 Mb) with some 942 files ???...... Dohhh!!! That is way too huge for my taste since I already have q 14 Gb Pluginsfolder and which is really the limit that I can use without too much lag on the game. &ops
Now, isn't there a smaller pack somewhere ready to download with most of the essentials to be able to build a decent airport? (max up to 50 Mb) I hate searching and figuring out which and what I can use and need, so a already "ready airport Pack or kit" (like the one above) in a smaller size would be perfect. Any ideas where? Thanks.


....Uploading the MFP 1.... (.........Finishing the MFP1)



I have been building an Airport in My City - Bedford Bay. The IATA City code is BBF (a Fictitious non Iata Code) for Bedford Bay Franklin D. Roosevelt International Airport.

I have been searching for the Remote stand Aircrafts - Boeing 737, 757 and A320   planes from this airport - and I would like to I download the Remote stands by joelyboy911 shown on pics however I cannot find them anywhere.

I have downloaded all the files I could possibly find but cannot see them on my game.The planes in question are those on pics ( Up to bottom )  10 and 16 - Who can possibly help?
Thank you very much!


Pedro Paulo Cabral