A "pier" is the name used to describe an airport concourse that juts out from the main terminal complex like this:
 |              |
 |_____    _____|
       |  |
   _\_ |  | _/_
    /  |  |  \
   _\_ |  | _/_
    /  |  |  \
   _\_ |  | _/_
    /  |__|  \
The first airport to use a pier-based terminal design was LaGuardia Airport in New York City. Later, the South Terminal at London's Gatwick Airport incorporated an extra-long pier linked to the landside by moving walkways, a design feature that soon became commonplace at other international airports.

While piers are good for accommodating a lot of aircraft in a minimal space, they require passengers to make lengthy walks to catch their flight or connect between flights.

Pier (?), n. [OE. pere, OF. piere a stone, F. pierre, fr. L. petra, Gr. . Cf. Petrify.]

1. Arch. (a)

Any detached mass of masonry, whether insulated or supporting one side of an arch or lintel, as of a bridge; the piece of wall between two openings.


Any additional or auxiliary mass of masonry used to stiffen a wall. See Buttress.


A projecting wharf or landing place.

Abutment pier, the pier of a bridge next the shore; a pier which by its strength and stability resists the thrust of an arch. -- Pier glass, a mirror, of high and narrow shape, to be put up between windows. -- Pier table, a table made to stand between windows.


© Webster 1913.

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