fabian9
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Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:15 pm

One thing I’ve always wondered about when travelling mainly through UK airports is, that departure gates are only announced shortly before boarding begins.

Other large airports like FRA, MUC, and AMS seem to announce the departure gates well in advance.

Why is it different? It always makes me feel like it’s a move designed to keep people in the shopping areas spending money for as long as possible. Is gate planning really so volatile that it’s difficult to plan and announce gates well in advance?
 
bevan7
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 7:34 pm

At LHR and LGW I'm pretty sure its to keep people shopping and spending money in the terminal area.
 
ei146
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:04 pm

It is because the Brits are special. I gave up long ago trying to find some sense in what they do. ;)
They do the same with their trains: At the station a large crowd waits at the departure board until the platform of their train is announced. Here in Germany the platform number is printed in the timetables.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:08 pm

In some cases it's also because the gate is still in use for the previous flight and therefor you don't want people for the next flight standing at the gate yet. The gate is only being announced once the previous flight has completed boarding.

I often use this as a trick to figure out which gate will be for my flight. When the time comes the gate for my flight is about to be announced, I just look at which gate has just finished boarding and then go there. Mostly I'm right and by being the first at the gate I'm also one of the first to board. Of course this only works at small terminals where you can oversee all gates without walking around too much.
 
Dominion301
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:39 pm

Yup it’s to keep you shopping for as long as possible.

YYC’s new international terminal is the only place in Canada like this thankfully.

In the US, most airports aren’t CUTE (common use gates), so such a system wouldn’t even work there.
 
alasizon
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 8:58 pm

The other thing when it comes to European airports is that in many (most?) locations where the gate is revealed later in the process, the airport authority is the ones running the single gate management system that feeds the departure boards and the airline's system. Although they have input from the airlines, this is different than other locations where the airline is running a gate management system that also feeds the airport authority's system and keeps the data current between the two. The big difference in the singular systems is that you only have 1-2 people that are releasing the info for all flights as opposed to multi-layer systems where each large airline will have 1-2 people and the airport authority only has to manage/mitigate the small airlines and then any overlapping conflict assignments.

There are some great tools out there for gate management but if only a single system is being run for a large airport (i.e. LGW), it can really slow things down (whether that is intentional for shopping purposes or not...). LHR, from my limited knowledge, is a little different in that BA operates their own system for T5 but has the ability to select which systems to release information to and when to release that info.
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tenHangar
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:03 pm

Crowd control or keep you shopping. When you check-in the agent has to tag your bags so they go to the right gate, and baggage handlers get a gate/flight schedule for their shift.
 
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PatrickZ80
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:11 pm

tenHangar wrote:
Crowd control or keep you shopping. When you check-in the agent has to tag your bags so they go to the right gate, and baggage handlers get a gate/flight schedule for their shift.


However still the checked luggage is kept stored at a central point until it is being forwarded to the gate. They have to do that because gate changes often happen, for example in case a flight is delayed and is keeping the expected gate for a flight occupied. In that case they'll change the gate from which the flight will depart, which means the luggage also has to be forwarded to the changed gate.

At airports which announce their gates at the last moment, those gate changes often go unnoticed to the passengers. It gives the airport more flexibility at which gate they handle which flight. They might have their expected schedule, but it's not always possible to follow the schedule. Often they have to improvise and handle a flight at a gate which it wasn't scheduled on.
 
bevan7
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:14 pm

I've found that at LHR if you ask in the lounge they know and will tell you the gate well before it's released on the screen. They've been able to tell me at most of the lounges I've been in across all 4 terminals.
 
phatfarmlines
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sat Jul 27, 2019 10:54 pm

Dominion301 wrote:
In the US, most airports aren’t CUTE (common use gates), so such a system wouldn’t even work there.


Actually many U.S. airports are adopting CUTE or have gates which are CUTE capable. New terminals especially are being built with CUTE capabilities (LGA).
 
Lofty
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 12:34 am

Can I just get read of the idea about shopping, T5 don't leave publishing gates to keep people in the shops. In fact they are looking at ways to publish gates earlier, whist keeping the flexibility to stand change and avoid passengers having to run from one gate to another.

If a flight is on the ground for along time you may get the gate early, this is why longhaul gates in T5 can be published early.
 
Dominion301
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 2:54 am

phatfarmlines wrote:
Dominion301 wrote:
In the US, most airports aren’t CUTE (common use gates), so such a system wouldn’t even work there.


Actually many U.S. airports are adopting CUTE or have gates which are CUTE capable. New terminals especially are being built with CUTE capabilities (LGA).


That is true, but the majority are still either 100% gate leases or majority leased gates with a few CUTE.
 
Vctony
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 3:56 am

Dominion301 wrote:
phatfarmlines wrote:
Dominion301 wrote:
In the US, most airports aren’t CUTE (common use gates), so such a system wouldn’t even work there.


Actually many U.S. airports are adopting CUTE or have gates which are CUTE capable. New terminals especially are being built with CUTE capabilities (LGA).


That is true, but the majority are still either 100% gate leases or majority leased gates with a few CUTE.


I've found that the ULCC carriers in the US (F9, G4, NK, and SY) tend to prefer to use CUTE gates. Also in the US most international airlines use CUTE gates (although not all of the time).
 
hodavid1985
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:13 am

PatrickZ80 wrote:
In some cases it's also because the gate is still in use for the previous flight and therefor you don't want people for the next flight standing at the gate yet. The gate is only being announced once the previous flight has completed boarding.

I often use this as a trick to figure out which gate will be for my flight. When the time comes the gate for my flight is about to be announced, I just look at which gate has just finished boarding and then go there. Mostly I'm right and by being the first at the gate I'm also one of the first to board. Of course this only works at small terminals where you can oversee all gates without walking around too much.


Negative, the plane operating your flight is at the gate ways before they announced the gate number.
They know and assigned the gate in advance,
Just a stupid idea to keep people in the shopping area as long as possible.
 
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eurowings
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 9:47 am

hodavid1985 wrote:
PatrickZ80 wrote:
In some cases it's also because the gate is still in use for the previous flight and therefor you don't want people for the next flight standing at the gate yet. The gate is only being announced once the previous flight has completed boarding.

I often use this as a trick to figure out which gate will be for my flight. When the time comes the gate for my flight is about to be announced, I just look at which gate has just finished boarding and then go there. Mostly I'm right and by being the first at the gate I'm also one of the first to board. Of course this only works at small terminals where you can oversee all gates without walking around too much.


Negative, the plane operating your flight is at the gate ways before they announced the gate number.
They know and assigned the gate in advance,
Just a stupid idea to keep people in the shopping area as long as possible.


Not necessarily if we are talking about Ultra Low Cost Carriers with very short turnarounds of 25 - 45 minutes. Sometimes boarding is called before the plane has even reached stand from its previous flight, witnessed it many times having the pleasure of flying FR etc.

They'll know the predicted gate in any case but keeping the flyers shopping / eating / drinking is definitely one of the goals of the system.
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Lofty
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:43 am

I can only speak for Heathrow, I have been a stand planner for 16 years, in that time I have covered T1 T4 and T5 and at no time have I ever been told not to publish stands to keep pax in the shops.

Lets look back a bit.
Many terminals in LHR used to have closed gate lounges, in fact T3 still does, so you did not want passengers at the gate until the gate team arrived, as the boarding process is done as you entered the gate area. Also as already said you don't want two flights in the gate area at the same time.

Many people who are not realists believe in a concept called a "Stable Stand Plan" because that is what other airports have, unfortunately at Heathrow due to congestion which leads to a high number of stand changes, it is a dream.
 
a320fan
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:54 am

Melbournes new low cost Terminal 4 uses the late gate announcement policy. The terminal design is one big shopping/food court hall, with the Tiger and Jetstar piers branching off that. There’s only limited basic plastic seating in the piers, no other facilities and the actual gate number only appears on the screens in the hall shortly before boarding begins.
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chonetsao
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 10:55 am

I heard that the late reveal of gate and platform for long distance trains are due to the bombings in 1980-1990s. So the terrorists could not know which train / airplane to target. Maybe Lofty can shed some lights on this urban myth.
 
B777LRF
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:13 am

chonetsao wrote:
I heard that the late reveal of gate and platform for long distance trains are due to the bombings in 1980-1990s. So the terrorists could not know which train / airplane to target. Maybe Lofty can shed some lights on this urban myth.


As with many myths there's an element of truth to it, but since we're talking sensitive security measures that's all I'm going to say.
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Bhoy
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:32 am

a320fan wrote:
Melbournes new low cost Terminal 4 uses the late gate announcement policy. The terminal design is one big shopping/food court hall, with the Tiger and Jetstar piers branching off that. There’s only limited basic plastic seating in the piers, no other facilities and the actual gate number only appears on the screens in the hall shortly before boarding begins.

It's the same at "Lounge 4" at AMS, serving the Schengen H Pier (easyJet being the main tenant) - once you leave the waiting area, to go to the gates, there are no concessions or seating area. Therefore, the Gate is only announced half an hour before departure, albeit this is normally before the inbound Aircraft had arrived, as, again, they're closed gate lounges shared with the non-Schengen M Pier, so Priority boarding is ready to board as soon as the arriving Pax are offloaded.
 
a320fan
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 11:41 am

Bhoy wrote:
a320fan wrote:
Melbournes new low cost Terminal 4 uses the late gate announcement policy. The terminal design is one big shopping/food court hall, with the Tiger and Jetstar piers branching off that. There’s only limited basic plastic seating in the piers, no other facilities and the actual gate number only appears on the screens in the hall shortly before boarding begins.

It's the same at "Lounge 4" at AMS, serving the Schengen H Pier (easyJet being the main tenant) - once you leave the waiting area, to go to the gates, there are no concessions or seating area. Therefore, the Gate is only announced half an hour before departure, albeit this is normally before the inbound Aircraft had arrived, as, again, they're closed gate lounges shared with the non-Schengen M Pier, so Priority boarding is ready to board as soon as the arriving Pax are offloaded.


Hah I’ve flown U2 out of AMS and remember it well. They had us line up in a holding room waiting for the inbound to unload then when ready for boarding they opened the doors and on we went, everyone already lined up and waiting to get on made boarding very quick and efficient, though not the most pleasant. Have experienced the same method on FR.
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DL717
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:06 pm

fabian9 wrote:
One thing I’ve always wondered about when travelling mainly through UK airports is, that departure gates are only announced shortly before boarding begins.

Other large airports like FRA, MUC, and AMS seem to announce the departure gates well in advance.

Why is it different? It always makes me feel like it’s a move designed to keep people in the shopping areas spending money for as long as possible. Is gate planning really so volatile that it’s difficult to plan and announce gates well in advance?


Probably dynamic gate scheduling philosophy. The UK is big on full common use. They wouldn’t assign a gate until they know when the aircraft will actually arrive. This provides sequencing from first to last. If a single carrier has substantial control of airport gates, then you will see more predictable gate assignments and you will see them early.
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chonetsao
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 4:51 pm

DL717 wrote:
fabian9 wrote:
One thing I’ve always wondered about when travelling mainly through UK airports is, that departure gates are only announced shortly before boarding begins.

Other large airports like FRA, MUC, and AMS seem to announce the departure gates well in advance.

Why is it different? It always makes me feel like it’s a move designed to keep people in the shopping areas spending money for as long as possible. Is gate planning really so volatile that it’s difficult to plan and announce gates well in advance?


Probably dynamic gate scheduling philosophy. The UK is big on full common use. They wouldn’t assign a gate until they know when the aircraft will actually arrive. This provides sequencing from first to last. If a single carrier has substantial control of airport gates, then you will see more predictable gate assignments and you will see them early.


Well, for many times, I know which gate the aircraft is as it arrived at the gate already in Heathrow (for example the airlines like Aegean, LOT and China Eastern etc. they only had few flights a day and it is easy to identify the gate with the aircraft parked from arrival). But the monitor does not show up the gate information until a good 20-30 minutes later I think roughly 45 minutes before departure. Sometimes if you follow a flight on flightstats, you know the arrival gate ages before the check-in commence.

I think there is certainly possibilities for Heathrow to publish gate information at least 45 minutes to 60 minutes earlier than current arrangement.
 
apodino
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Jul 28, 2019 5:07 pm

I have been to many European airports and the London Airports are the only airports where I have seen this practice. Its not unlike taking a train in the US, where they don't announce the track until about 15 minutes before departure (save for Grand Central). My beef with this system at LHR is in T3 anyways, the monitors aren't very big relative to the seating areas, so a crowd gathers around the monitors until they post the departure. I did notice that despite this, AA does still print the gate number on the boarding pass.

One other thing of note is that at LHR and LGW, the tickets are taken upon entry of the waiting area by the departure gate, not upon boarding. The airlines may simply just not be staffing these gates prior to one hour out, especially US gates, where they do random security checks at the gate.
 
Lofty
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:35 am

chonetsao wrote:
I heard that the late reveal of gate and platform for long distance trains are due to the bombings in 1980-1990s. So the terrorists could not know which train / airplane to target. Maybe Lofty can shed some lights on this urban myth.


I have to say have never heard of that one. Think historically El Al in T1 LHR always used the same gate, as an airline with extra security if the myth was true they would have used different gates.
 
Lofty
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 8:43 am

chonetsao wrote:
DL717 wrote:
fabian9 wrote:
One thing I’ve always wondered about when travelling mainly through UK airports is, that departure gates are only announced shortly before boarding begins.

Other large airports like FRA, MUC, and AMS seem to announce the departure gates well in advance.

Why is it different? It always makes me feel like it’s a move designed to keep people in the shopping areas spending money for as long as possible. Is gate planning really so volatile that it’s difficult to plan and announce gates well in advance?


Probably dynamic gate scheduling philosophy. The UK is big on full common use. They wouldn’t assign a gate until they know when the aircraft will actually arrive. This provides sequencing from first to last. If a single carrier has substantial control of airport gates, then you will see more predictable gate assignments and you will see them early.


Well, for many times, I know which gate the aircraft is as it arrived at the gate already in Heathrow (for example the airlines like Aegean, LOT and China Eastern etc. they only had few flights a day and it is easy to identify the gate with the aircraft parked from arrival). But the monitor does not show up the gate information until a good 20-30 minutes later I think roughly 45 minutes before departure. Sometimes if you follow a flight on flightstats, you know the arrival gate ages before the check-in commence.

I think there is certainly possibilities for Heathrow to publish gate information at least 45 minutes to 60 minutes earlier than current arrangement.


Airlines prefer you not to be at the gate until it is staffed especially if it is a closed gate lounge or a long walk. Should a flight be delayed it is easy to put a call out in departures and give out vouchers etc without sending a team to the gate. From a T5 view most longhaul flights will show on the screens "Will board T5B" etc long before the actual gate number.
 
ei146
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:09 am

So where are the "late" gate announcements actually used?
I saw it in LHR, LGW and MAN. I can't really remember EDI anymore. I think the gate was announced relativly late, but we went to the right part of the terminal in advance. LH typically uses the same small number of gates in that area.
My memory is also a bit blurry about CDG Terminal 2G. I remember the central waiting area with shops, but can't remember anymore how much in advance the gate was announced.
 
BTV290
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:24 am

Not to drag this too far off topic, but what was the purpose of the closed gate holding areas. I went on my first international trip with my family when I was about 12, USAirways to LGW. On the way home, I remember finding it very odd they tore our boarding passes entering the waiting area, and then boarding was essentially opening the doors and an open cattle call.
In "modern" times, doesn't this mess with the timestamps for departure, having all pax marked as boarded long before boarding actually started?
 
Toinou
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 9:48 am

As said by others, I think it probably has to do with a different approach on last minute changes : on one system you prefer to be sure to announce the correct gate, while on the other one you announce early, hoping that you won't have to change it. (As already noted, you have the same difference for railway tracks, for example between France and Germany (Explained here (in french) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=27ZKNMNlm6A)
I wonder if there is a correlation between the proportion of last minute gate changes and late gate announcements (ie, airports if airports with high level of gate changes (so, probably with high level of delays and other problems) are more keen to announce gates late), in which case it would be rather reasonable. But it's probably more a question of corporate culture.
 
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ro1960
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 10:03 am

eurowings wrote:

Not necessarily if we are talking about Ultra Low Cost Carriers with very short turnarounds of 25 - 45 minutes. Sometimes boarding is called before the plane has even reached stand from its previous flight, witnessed it many times having the pleasure of flying FR etc.


EasyJet does pre-boarding. They check boarding passes as passengers access the departure gate lounge, and once the plane is ready, they allow them on board. Pretty efficient I'd say.
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chonetsao
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:35 am

BTV290 wrote:
Not to drag this too far off topic, but what was the purpose of the closed gate holding areas. I went on my first international trip with my family when I was about 12, USAirways to LGW. On the way home, I remember finding it very odd they tore our boarding passes entering the waiting area, and then boarding was essentially opening the doors and an open cattle call.
In "modern" times, doesn't this mess with the timestamps for departure, having all pax marked as boarded long before boarding actually started?


It is also the practice in Singapore (at least in terminal 2). Singapore does security check by the gate thus passengers were in a confined gate area after security check by the gate. Also due to the old terminal design the arriving and departing passengers are mixed.

UK is different. I think only terminal 3 has this closed gate holding area. I don't know about Gatwick, I think it depends on the gates. I have been to Gatwick where the gate holding area is the common use and also I seems to remember my last Aegean flight from Gatwick had the boarding pass check before the boarding bridge rather than the entrance of the boarding area...Maybe someone who had been to Gatwick recently can verify.

To me, the best airport is Hong Kong. They got most of the things right. There are plenty of shopping space but not imposing and you can walk pass if you are not into shopping. The gate was announced many hours before the flight so people know where to navigate.
 
ikramerica
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 2:25 pm

Lofty wrote:
I can only speak for Heathrow, I have been a stand planner for 16 years, in that time I have covered T1 T4 and T5 and at no time have I ever been told not to publish stands to keep pax in the shops.

Lets look back a bit.
Many terminals in LHR used to have closed gate lounges, in fact T3 still does, so you did not want passengers at the gate until the gate team arrived, as the boarding process is done as you entered the gate area. Also as already said you don't want two flights in the gate area at the same time.

Many people who are not realists believe in a concept called a "Stable Stand Plan" because that is what other airports have, unfortunately at Heathrow due to congestion which leads to a high number of stand changes, it is a dream.

“We’v always done it that way”=“change is impossible”

Got it.

Thats how most bureaucratic entities operate.
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fabian9
Topic Author
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:27 pm

Thanks a lot for your insightful posts everybody!
 
fessor
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Mon Jul 29, 2019 7:36 pm

In CPH gates is often not known at check in. But will be released later. This gives more flexibility.
Also I try many times that even check in counters is put on screen very late
 
hodavid1985
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Re: Airport Departure Gate Assignment

Sun Aug 25, 2019 5:36 pm

DL717 wrote:
fabian9 wrote:
One thing I’ve always wondered about when travelling mainly through UK airports is, that departure gates are only announced shortly before boarding begins.

Other large airports like FRA, MUC, and AMS seem to announce the departure gates well in advance.

Why is it different? It always makes me feel like it’s a move designed to keep people in the shopping areas spending money for as long as possible. Is gate planning really so volatile that it’s difficult to plan and announce gates well in advance?


Probably dynamic gate scheduling philosophy. The UK is big on full common use. They wouldn’t assign a gate until they know when the aircraft will actually arrive. This provides sequencing from first to last. If a single carrier has substantial control of airport gates, then you will see more predictable gate assignments and you will see them early.


Plenty (most)of airports in Asia have (all) common use gates, all have no problem in releasing the gate info hours before departure. Airport must know when the plane will arrive so it is not an excuse to not showing the gate in advance.

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