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13 CHAPTER THREE ADVANTAGES AND DISADVANTAGES OF COMMON USE As airports and airlines move along the common use contin- The result of McCarran's efforts is that ticketing lobbies, uum, it is important that they understand the advantages and once crowded with departing passengers, have smooth pas- disadvantages associated with common use. Although the senger flow, and passenger queuing at the ticket counters is common use model is implemented at airports, airlines have now limited. The airport also has the ability now to move air- a high stake in the changes as well. Changes may affect all lines, add airlines, and expand service as needed, given its facets of airport operations including lease structures, oper- status as a destination airport (Broderick 2004). ating procedures, branding, traveler way-finding, mainte- nance, and software applications. Therefore, although the Airlines also reap a benefit from common use. Many of implementation of common use occurs at the airport, the air- the common use strategies implemented in airports actually port should take into consideration the impact of common reduce the airline costs. According to IATA, with the imple- use systems on the airlines that service the market. More of mentation of CUSS and e-ticketing, the average cost savings this will be discussed in later sections of this document. on a typical return ticket is $14.50 (Rozario 2006). CUSS kiosks can also improve efficiency during the ADVANTAGES OF COMMON USE check-in process. Compared with traditional agent check-in, which can process between 20 and 25 passengers per hour, a The greatest benefit driving common use in airports is more CUSS kiosk can enable the check-in of 40 to 50 passengers efficient use of existing airport space. Other benefits include per hour ("E-Ticketing Comes of Age" 2006). Even CUTE improved traveling options for passengers and reduced capi- implementations can help reduce costs to airlines. Figure 4 tal expenditures for airports and airlines. In New York's JFK presents a common use ticketing lobby with CUSS kiosks. International Airport, Terminal 4 is privately operated and currently has 16 gates. The terminal is expandable by up to Results of an interview with Lufthansa Systems revealed 42 gates. With just the current 16-gate configuration, Terminal that CUTE sites can be 35% to 50% less expensive to start 4 is able to support 50 different airlines. A typical domestic up, support, and maintain than proprietary sites. Beyond the U.S. terminal without common use would only be able to cost savings, an airline has an opportunity to enter into a new handle 4 or 5 airlines, instead of 50. In 2005, Terminal 4 market, or expand an existing market, at a much lower cost processed more than 3.2 million international departing pas- when that airport is common use. Airlines have a lower bar- sengers within its 1.5 million square feet of space. Airlines rier to exiting a market or reducing their presence in a market are able to focus on flying their aircraft instead of dealing as well. If the systems, infrastructure, and required accouter- with terminal operations. As a true common use facility, the ments are owned by the airport, then the airline has one less airport management is responsible for the terminal and any factor to consider when managing seasonal schedules. infrastructure required in supporting terminal operations (Guitjens 2006). Table 2 lists the technologies that are commonly associ- ated with the common use continuum, describes the benefits Another airport with common use experience is Las of each technology for both airports and airlines, and high- Vegas McCarran International Airport. In 2006, the airport lights the impact of each technology on airline operations. processed more than 46 million passengers through its Although the common use continuum encompasses more terminals. One way the airport operator has alleviated con- than just technology, technology is a tremendous enabler to gestion in the ticketing area is through the use of CUSS the common use continuum. kiosks. Before the installation of CUSS at McCarran, indi- vidual airlines installed a number of proprietary check-in kiosks to support their customers. This caused the passenger AIRPORT CONSIDERATIONS FOR COMMON USE queuing in the ticketing lobbies to become unmanageable. McCarran International Airport needed not only to control Although common use has many advantages, the major con- the number of kiosks installed in its ticketing lobbies, but sideration when assessing common use is cost. Although the also to find ways to move the ticketing process out to other cost of implementing common use is significantly less than areas of the airport and, in some cases, other areas of the city. the capital cost of constructing new gates, concourses, or
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14 ongoing licensing, and other recurring costs. Airports and airlines also need to consider the labor implications of switching to a common use model. For example, if ground handling is moved from the airlines to the airport, the exist- ing labor contracts would need to be revisited. In the case of Montreal Trudeau airport, when the airport instituted self- tagging, the labor issues forced airport management to con- tinue using existing counter agents to handle the process of receiving the bags and injecting them into the system. Again, these costs ultimately are paid for by the airline; however, the responsibility has shifted from the airline to the airport. According to interviews, these costs become quite evident to the airport operator when support for the airport-controlled common use system is reported as "inadequate" by the airlines. FIGURE 4 Common use check-in desk layout. Depending on the airline's operation and the plan set forth by the airport, the airport operator may also have to consider terminals, the added cost is still something that must be con- additional storage accommodations located near the gates to sidered. If not properly planned and executed, cost overruns allow the airlines to store items that agents use during the can have a significantly negative impact on the benefit of the processing of passengers at a gate. These could include spe- common use installation. cial boarding card stock, headsets, or other items that are given to the passenger at the time of boarding. The airport From a technology perspective, converting ticketing operator will also have to make accommodations at the tick- counters and gates to common use is expensive. The current eting counters as well. Depending on the number of airlines CUTE technology required to facilitate the common use of a serving the airport, it may also become difficult to find back gate or ticketing counter is somewhat proprietary to the se- office space dedicated to an individual airline. In this case, lected CUTE vendor, and therefore is generally more costly the back office space would also become common use. than simply purchasing a computer workstation and printer. Making the decision to implement common use also affects Airlines may also see disadvantages to common use. First, costs not generally first considered. For example, common when moving from an exclusive use environment to a com- use at the ticket and gate counters necessitates the replace- mon use environment, airlines lose some control over the use ment of static signage with costly dynamic signage. Cabling of their dedicated gates and ticket counters. For small stations, and network infrastructure for new equipment must also be this may not be an issue, but for larger operations, airlines see added. There is also the cost in setting up the connections to this as a loss of flexibility. No longer can they assign flights to the airline host systems, as well as the servers necessary to their gates based on gate utilization, but instead they must sub- support the CUTE operations. mit gate requests for airport approval. In the case of a delayed flight, the airport operator manages how this flight is routed on In addition to technology costs, an exclusive use airport the ground and what gates are available. At large hub airports, must consider the cost of ownership of assets once controlled the hub airline generally remains in control of its gates, and in by the individual airlines. For example, the jet bridge is an most cases those gates are not converted to common use. Air- asset typically owned by the exclusive use airline. To convert ports also need to consider how this could affect their ability to a gate to common use, the airport operator must consider and make gates available to handle irregular operations. evaluate the cost to own and maintain the jet bridge, adding a capital cost as well as an ongoing operational cost. Other From a technology perspective, airlines lose some control physical property items such as waiting lounge seating, ticket over the quality of the systems installed, as well as the abil- and gate counters, and other items originally provided by the ity to have direct control over the costs of those systems. In airline, may now be the airport operator's responsibility. On the current common use environments where system config- the surface, this appears to have shifted the cost from the air- urations differ from airport to airport, airlines tend to have lines to the airport. Depending on how the costs are recov- more configuration management requirements on the back ered, however, the airline most likely winds up paying the end. In the future, CUPPS will address this issue from a tech- bill anyway. What basically has changed is that responsibil- nology standards perspective, allowing airlines to manage ity for the asset has shifted from the airline to the airport. only one configuration for all common use airports in which they participate. From the airline perspective, having to deal Costs often overlooked include the "soft costs" required only with the systems they implement greatly simplifies their to support the common use installation such as additional operations. In a poorly implemented common use system, the maintenance and administrative staff, management costs, ability to process passengers quickly through the check-in
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15 TABLE 2 COMMON USE ENABLING SYSTEMS COMMON USE CONTINUUM--RELATED TECHNOLOGIES Technology (general category) Benefit Airline Impact Access Control Shared use of security access Airport operator may require use of airport access control on airline controlled gates. Building Management Manages shared use of building utilities-- Immediate gate changes may impact areas Potential cost savings, cross billing to users where building utilities are currently off. Baggage Reconciliation/ Manages the sortation of airline bags-- Reduction of lost bags results in Tracking Saves time, reduces bag loss substantial cost savings. CCTV Shared use of video monitoring Shared use of video monitoring Communications Shared use of physical and electronic Airlines may be forced to use shared Infrastructure communications infrastructure, which results in concerns related to maintenance, performance, and accessibility. CUSS Allows sharing of check-in self-service Significant change in airline operations units (discussed throughout this paper) CUTE Allows sharing of gates/counters Significant change in airline operations (discussed throughout this paper) Dynamic Signage Shared use of way finding/general May impact airlineís dedicated use of information system static signage or the use of airline gate information displays. Gate Management Manages gate/ticket counter assignments May impact airline's automated gate management systems in place. GIS Manages shared used of airport space Little to no impact. Positive impact can be experienced with better use of airport- related information. LDCS/LBA Automates local departure and boarding Positive impact for airlines not currently Provides a means for the airport to assist using an automated system with improved boarding process MUBIDS Multi-users of baggage information displays May require advanced scheduling of --Provides more information to the baggage carrousels. passengers in a single area MUFIDS Multi-users of flight information displays-- Affects airline use of dedicated FID Efficient use of airport space; provides systems; may complicate requirements more information to the passenger in a for data feeds. single area OPDB Storehouse of integrated data elements-- May complicate data feed requirements Improves use of shared data Paging Shared use of zoned visual and audio Improved messaging to all airport users paging--Improved messaging to all airport May affect means and methods airlines users use to share information with passengers, particularly in the gate areas. Payroll System Used to charge shared use of resources-- Little or no impact; airlines may Improved means of tenant cross-charging experience improved means of billing and charging. (continued on next page)
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16 TABLE 2 (continued ) COMMON USE CONTINUUM--RELATED TECHNOLOGIES Technology (general category) Benefit Airline Impact Property Management System Manages shared airport space--Improved Little or no impact; airlines may means of tenant cross-charging experience improved means of billing and charging. Resource Management Manages airline/airport resources. Used May impact airline's operations in with gate management. Improves airport managing dedicated space/resources. operator's ability to manage airport facility Typically, not all airline resources are and resources used by airlines. managed by the airport resource management system, so that careful coordination is required between systems. VoIP Phone Allows shared use of phone system May impact airline's current use of phones. Web Application Services Allows for shared access to airline-specific Can result in positive impact for airline's web applications through airport use of specific web-based services. controlled/owned computing systems Wireless Network Shared use of wireless communications May impact airlines current use of wireless services. and bag-drop procedures only moves problems to the gate airport easy to use. When an airport moves along the com- area, causing delays in boarding. As an example, if the air- mon use continuum, consideration must be given to the types port purchases lower-quality printers to keep down the cost of signage that are used to convey information to the passen- of the common use system, the boarding passes produced by gers. Although today most airlines have preferential gate those printers may not be readable by the equipment at the assignments, in a fully common use airport any given airline gate, or downstream in the airline system. can use any given gate. Way-finding complexity increases when an airline is located in one area one day, and then in an- There is also concern, from a technology perspective, that other area another day. In a common use environment, static security can be compromised. Airlines expressed concern signage will not suffice. In practice, departing airline flights that there could be a breach of security within their network are generally clustered by airline, so as not to create such when operating in a common use environment. confusion for the passengers. However, within a terminal or concourse, signage is very important and must be considered Airlines are also concerned that if one airline's applica- when moving across the common use continuum. tion fails, is compromised, or in some way causes the system to have a failure, then all airlines operating in that environ- Usability of common use technology by disabled individ- ment will also fail. Most technologies available today are uals is increasingly becoming an issue. In the United States, developed with security in mind; however, airport operators airports and airlines are mandated to meet Americans with should consider this concern when preparing to implement Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements in their construction, common use. technology, and customer service. The predominant concept is to provide equal access to information and services. Many From a passenger's perspective, common use installations of the current common use technologies do not meet the have the potential to become confusing. As with all airports, equal access requirements, which will become more impor- way-finding is an extremely critical element of making an tant as U.S.-based airports consider common use.