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Passenger boarding bridges

Without them, flying would be much more uncomfortable: the passenger boarding bridge (also called gangway or passenger bridge) allows sheltered, flat level entry into aircraft at thousands of airports worldwide. In the early days of flying the entry was much easier. The small propeller machines had built-in small stairs that were simply lowered. Even today, smaller aircraft usually use built-in stairs, since the slope of the passenger boarding bridge would otherwise be too steep.
How would it look without the passenger boarding bridge? Modern commercial aircraft have entry height of up to 4 metres above the ground. In the case of gigantic jets like the Airbus A380, passengers have to ascend two levels. It would require very high stairs. And families with children, elderly and infirm passengers would find it much harder to board the plane. Not to mention the protection against wind and weather.
The principle of the passenger boarding bridge is simple: as a rule, part of the system is firmly anchored to the airport building. Another part is flexibly mounted on bearings in order to be able to dock to the various aircraft types. So it is important to compensate for differences in the height of the aircraft door as well as different aircraft lengths and widths. For this purpose, a gangway usually consists of several tubes that can telescope in and move apart and one or more lifting units. This telescopic bridge is the most flexible model of the passenger bridge. Less flexible designs are often only suitable for certain aircraft types, which limits the flexibility of airport operators.
The passenger bridge is moved by means of electric motors. They need power and data cables for control. The movements of the individual elements are not very fast. Nevertheless, the cables must be protected against damage. Since they are usually outside the gangway, they must defy wind and weather.

Passenger bridge design

The advantage of igus® for the passenger bridge

As the downtimes of the aircraft is getting shorter and shorter and the passenger board bridges are supposed to work reliably, the mechanical movement has to run smoothly. A stoppage of a passenger boarding bridge can mean an immediate financial loss for the airport operator, the airline and also for the passengers who want to fly comfortably and safely on time.
The high reliability of the products speaks in favour of the use of igus® products in the passenger boarding bridge. The movements of the cables in the gangway can be guided safely with igus® e-chain systems®. The strokes are mostly horizontal movements in the telescope tunnels and vertical in the lifting units. The e-chains® have a long service life, so that high downtimes can be accounted for. They can be installed in a space-saving manner, so that no cables hang down and visually impair the look. All required energy can be supplied with e-chains®, such as power and control cables, hydraulics, pneumatics, etc.

The e-chain systems® reduce the required cable lengths by more than 50% (with medium feed) and prevent external mechanical loads on the cables, such as uncontrolled rocking, swinging, jamming, etc. The low maintenance reduces the downtime. The igus® e-chain systems® work ideally in conjunction with igus® chainflex® cables. They withstand heat, sun, rain and snow just like the e-chains®.

Products for use in passenger boarding bridges


Energy supply chains

  • Protection for cables and hoses
  • Space-saving installation and reduced cable lengths (alternative to festooning)
  • Travels of 800m or more possible
  • Easy installation due to fast opening and separation of chain links
  • Low wear due to specially optimised igus high-performance plastics
  • Extremely stable, cable-friendly rounded crossbars
  • Interior separation modular kit for longer service life
  • High product variety for almost every application
  • Special materials available for special applications
  • Available from stock with many accessories
  • Circular movements up to 7000°

chainflex cable CF270.UL.D

Cables for motion

  • 25 years experience - 36 month guarantee
  • Largest range with 1,354 cables types for data, bus and hybrid systems.
  • No cutting charges
  • Calculable service life
  • Various types of movements possible: horizontal, vertical, torsion
  • Free samples available
  • 50% time reduction when stripping due to unique CFRIP technology
  • Available from stock, from 1 m length within 24 hours

Typical igus® products in passenger boarding bridges

Already implemented customer applications

Passenger boarding bridge

e-chains® replace festoonings on passenger jetways for increased reliability.


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