Thanks for your reply AVPOH77 and I want to apologize if some of my comments seemed a bit harsh. I just got a little railed up there. Call it Ramp Fever.
I do sympathize with you on not having updated information when the aircraft is running late and believe me this is a problem shared by both ASA and Comair. We are basically an out-station for Comair even though we have almost 100 OH
departures a day. This means that getting information on Comair flights usually takes a phone call or a couple of minutes of research on a computer which we sometimes do not have when working several departures at once. As a result, updating Comair flight information often gets put low on our list of priorities. Then it is easy for Comair flight control to blame ATL
for their operational failures. Point of fact is that communications is a weak point in the whole operation for both ASA and Comair.
Another big problem, and the biggest operational headache, is the fact that Comair crews often switch aircraft while in ATL
which adds another 10-15 minutes to the time it takes to turn around an aircraft, especially if they have to go between concourses. Crews sometimes take this time to get some food or take care of personal needs which delays the flight further. Even if we know what flight the crew is inbound on, we can't accurately predict how long it will take them to get from one aircraft to the other.
In the case of your AVP
flight, I will give you an example of what happened two days ago. I was the departure coordinator assigned to the flight and it is my job to make sure the aircraft has fuel, catering, cleaning, etc., and to call the gate when they are ready to board. The aircraft arrived on time and the inbound crew got off the aircraft. Flight 5336 usually operates out of gate D28 which is part of zone 8. Zone 8 in ATL
consists of three gates which means there might be 5-6 flights on the ground at the same time. On this particular night, there were six flights all departing between 2100 and 2158 which meant I was quite busy. I was running back and forth trying to get the flights out and occasionally looking at the AVP
flight to see if the APU was on indicating that the outbound crew was onboard. I went to the aircraft at about 2130 when I saw lights on the aircraft and when I asked the crew informed me they were late from SHV
. I called for boarding as soon as they were ready and the flight finally departed at 2200.
In regards to your question about updating the FLIFOD, who should of done it?
The gate? Busy boarding other flights.
The ramp? Also busy.
The ramp tower? One guy covering seven gates and up to 16 departures at once and without a clear view of the ramp from his position.
ATL operations? They are inside a room with no windows on C-concourse.
OH Flight Control? Even if they know where the crew is, they can't
predict how long it will take them to get to their next
flight. In my experience, they tend to be reactive
instead of proactive and do not communicate well with
The coordinator? Well...you know my story.
Point is that I see your frustration with not having timely information, especially when you have people waiting for the arrival. There are plans for a new Ramp Tower and communications equipment sometime in the next few months and hopefully this will improve the operation. In the meantime, just be patient with us and don't believe everything you hear about ATL
. Especially from the Comair crews.
"I love mankind. It's people I can't stand." - Charles Shultz