Yesterday someone asked me about hardware requirements for doors serving the jet bridge – the walkway leading from the airport terminal to the door of the plane. This is also known as the aircraft loading walkway or passenger boarding bridge (did you know that “Jetway” is a brand name?). I remembered an old post about some doors in an airport, and I went back and checked the comments, where I found a reference to NFPA 415 that addresses the question:
Is panic hardware required on the door between the airport terminal and the jet bridge?
I think by now most of us can recite in our sleep the locations where panic hardware is required – high hazard occupancies, and assembly and educational occupants with an occupant load of 50 or 100 – depending on which code has been adopted. But you never know where a requirement will pop up in another code or standard. Since NFPA allows their standards to be read for free on their website, and NFPA 415 is only 21 pages long, I went to check it out.
Section 6.2.6 of this standard (2016 edition) states: “Any door in the egress path through the loading walkway to the terminal building shall swing in the direction of egress from the aircraft toward the terminal building and shall be equipped with panic hardware on the aircraft side.”
As I was digging around, I found that NFPA 101 includes the same language applicable to airport loading walkways in Chapters 12 and 13, with some additional language prohibiting delayed egress locks in the path of egress between the plane and the terminal. The requirements of NFPA 415 or NFPA 101 would not automatically apply to an airport unless adopted or referenced in that jurisdiction, BUT the FAA Advisory Circular on aircraft boarding equipment states that the passenger boarding bridge (PBB) is required to comply with NFPA 415. It’s not 100% clear to me whether that requirement would extend to the door that leads from the bridge to the terminal, as that is not actually part of the bridge, but the intent is pretty clear – these doors should swing into the terminal and have panic hardware on the jet-bridge side of the door.