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22 Because each airline may have different business processes, gates at a common use airport may need to move the air- and may use different equipment and peripherals to support planes off-gate at any given time. Some common use airports those business processes, open and honest communication is do not allow aircraft parking at gates, but require all aircraft necessary. Airlines and airport operators need to ensure that to be parked off-gate. This change could result in more the airline technology people communicate with the airport movements of aircraft to and from the gates, and off-gate technology people, and not, as is often the case, have airline parking can sometimes be some distance from the gates. properties people attempting to communicate technical is- sues to their technology staff. COMMON USE HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE Some airlines interviewed noted that the start-up of a com- With the common use implementation at a specific airport, mon use system at an airport is always a labor-intensive effort. airlines are faced with hardware and software systems that It was also noted that many of the same functions that are cur- typically may not be supported by the airline. As a result, the rently available in their proprietary systems have not yet been airline must be aware of and prepared to use the supported made available in their common use systems, thereby reducing hardware in a common use system to facilitate its business the functionality that the agents need to perform their tasks. process. It was noted through interviews with airlines that each airport operator creates its own "unique" common use Airport operators should also consider that an airline may platform, thus causing the airlines to modify their applica- have multiple airports that need the commitment and service tions to support the unique requirements of the local installa- of the corporate staff, and should have other methods of open tion. It was noted that this occurs even if the same vendor communication available for airline staff to participate in the solution is used at multiple airports. Unique requirements in- dialogue. It would be of value for airport operators to seek clude network connectivity, hardware preferences, and soft- other technical methods to facilitate communication and ware application functionality, to name a few. meetings, such as conference calls, collaborative Internet- based tools, and other solutions. There is no substitute for The airline must also make accommodations for software face-to-face meetings; however, these can be augmented by certifications required by each common use vendor at each other methods to ease the burden on those who may have to airport. Airlines need to decide how much common use they travel from one site to another. will use at the airport. In most instances, airlines do not en- gage common use in their back offices. This means that their Likewise, it is good practice to schedule the design meet- local staff will need to use two sets of systems. Also, airports ings around the flight schedules of the carriers that are going in a common use environment usually do not support the air- to participate, so that the airlines can control their costs and lines' proprietary back office systems; therefore, the airline travel arrangements during the process. will need local support for these systems. Airport operators should also consider the evolutionary approach that airlines have taken toward common use. As ADDITIONAL COSTS airlines refresh their technologies, they will consider com- mon use approaches. This will be particularly important to Although the potential for cost savings exists with the com- the CUPPS initiative, as the airlines that are updating their mon use implementation, airlines noted that hidden or technology will be more likely to adopt the CUPPS applica- additional costs often outweigh the cost savings. These costs tion approach. can include additional training for the agents, additional soft- ware maintenance and upgrades for separate applications, AIRLINE OPERATIONS certification and deployment costs under common use, and delay costs in releasing software updates through the existing Any common use strategy implemented by an airport affects common use processes. Airlines also indicated that there are an airline's operations at that airport. Fiscally, an airline is af- additional "soft" costs that have not yet been quantified. fected by the change in rates and charges that can arise from These include the cost of time delays to distribute common the common use strategy. Airports may choose to charge use applications versus proprietary applications, support of back to the airlines the costs associated with the common use more than one set of applications for multiple environments, strategy, effectively increasing the rates and charges to that and costs associated with the certification process to gain the airline. Conversely, the argument can be made that imple- ability to operate in a common use environment. Under- mentation of a common use environment (in the long term) standing the true cost of doing business in a common use can actually reduce the rates and charges to existing airlines implementation is a primary concern of many of the airlines. by increasing the number of signatories that share the costs It is therefore important for airports to consider the impacts of doing business at the airport. to airlines with respect to these costs. The airport operator must consider the message that is conveyed when imple- A common use strategy may also change the "remain over menting a common use strategy and the charges that are night" practices at an airport. Airlines that park aircraft at added to the airlines. If an airport presents an honest picture