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Shared/Common Gates

Wed Dec 08, 2004 1:58 pm

A coworker and I were having a discussion about gates (while I had my head stuck in a ceiling on a manlift 20' off the ground, of all places) and I had the question that he couldn't answer:

At airports where either two airlines share a gate or where some or all of the gates are "common" to all airlines, how do the logistics work?

Specifically, for example:
- Podium design/signage?
- Jetway logo?
- Who provides the tug/GSE?
- Most importantly, CRS terminals -- Who provides them and what are they?

If all of the airlines sharing a gate use, for example, SABRE I guess it's not that big of a deal, but especially now that airlines (appear to be) using their GDS of choice with a more or less custom front-end user interface (DL and UA with it's four-pane view come to mind)... I doubt there's a SABRE set, Apollo and WorldSpan terminal sitting at every gate "just in case".

I would imagine "gate sharing" is relatively common, but how many airports have common gates (Honolulu is the only one I know of, and I have no direct knowledge about that one)


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RE: Shared/Common Gates

Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:29 pm

I can't anwser all the questions but I'll give em a stab.
I know when an airline has peak time service and they just need a gate for the ecxtra/overflow, they may share a gate with another carrier. Of what I have seen, there is always a larger carrier and a smaller carrier. At LGA, CO used to share a gate with NK. Co had their type gate set-up and they addded a Spirit sign side-by-side with the Co logo. The flights info was erased and put up for each operator. The tugs and ramp service was done by NK personnel as they had a few other gates there. I can't be shure but I think that NK was paying a montly rent for them space, LGA gate leases can get pricy.
In other airports, there are the old signs where you slide across your logo and flight info at the gate. I can't tell you much other than, they might pay a service to take care of the tug and ramp operations. I don't think the chairs and podiums are the airlines to take with them, even if they were, where would they take them to? When you see an empty gate, there are always podiums and chairs, right?
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RE: Shared/Common Gates

Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:35 pm

Smaller airlines often combine with larger airlines at locations where they have just a few daily flights to. These are some of the Midwest ones I have seen myself.

SFO- US handles pretty much everything. The ticketing areas, gate, and jetway dont really have any Midwest signage at all.

LAS- Northwest handles Midwest, although there seems to be a greater employee prescence. There is a Midwest sign at ticketing and at the gate (Concourse D gates are pretty much uniform with tv screens showing the airline)

Edit: This is my 500th post! Yay for me!

[Edited 2004-12-08 06:58:39]
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RE: Shared/Common Gates

Wed Dec 08, 2004 2:42 pm

I, personally, am a big fan of C/U - common use technology and operations at airports. Not that I am against labor, but pro-efficiency.

Some European and S.American airports do this very well.

Some observations of good common use practices:

-Common-use check-in. Video screens above display airline logos when check-in is available. In ATH for example, airport staff checks you in. Not airline staff.

-Common-use gates. Video screens for the gates, computer systems that log on to terminals for each specific airline.

-Single-security point. I think a single adequately staffed security checkpoint is a strong positive of a well-run airport.

-Ground ops. It is not that tough - bags, and a/c handling. I think a mix of airline staff (MX reasons) and airport staff would get this done well.

C/U is a great manifesto of supply and demand IMHO. I think it optimizes resources and costs.

Sidestep: NWC online has a good article of the technology in use @ LAS:
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RE: Shared/Common Gates

Wed Dec 08, 2004 5:31 pm

i think its only in north america where the airlines themselves actually own the gates
certainly here in europe the gates are owned by the airport authority
gates can be dedicated to the airlines but usually when they are in constant use by that airlines
eg in LHR - BA have their own dedicated gates as they are used constantly throughout the day by BA. BD and Ei also have a similar arrangement. MAybe LH and AF could have also as they have constant flight in and out of LHR
Same as AF in CDG and LH in FRA
for airlines with maybe only 1 or 2 flights a day into that airport, a gate will be issued by the airport authority or their handling agent, who also have a block of dedicated gates.
You will never see a situation like in the USA where, for example, 1 airline has 1 flight a day in to that airport and owns its own gate. That gate will be used by multiple airlines during the rest of the day. As B4real stated above, signs above the counters/podiums these days are usually tv monitors and they show the airlines logo and flight numbers and info of the airline that is using the gate at that time
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RE: Shared/Common Gates

Thu Dec 09, 2004 12:34 am

Run a Google search for SITA's CUTE product. That will explain how the shared computers work. There also are some good articles out there (perhaps from Network World) that explain a lot of the technical details behind LAS's common-use systems; again, Google is your friend.

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RE: Shared/Common Gates

Thu Dec 09, 2004 1:55 am

I have never understood why most airports in the U.S. have facilities exclusively for one carrier. With most signs going to LCD monitors around the world at the airports it only makes sense. The space is more efficiently used and should lower costs for the airlines. Baggage claims are done this way at most international arrivals at shared customs halls. That also ensures that most of the time you aren't sitting in the alley waiting for your airlines outbound aircraft to vacate the gate.

The only negative I can think of is that passengers that are regular travelers probably would like to know that they can assume they will be leaving out of the same area each time. This can be done by trying to assign the same Gates for the same flights. However most airports have these big displays with flights and Gates on them!