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30 CHAPTER SEVEN AIRPORT CONSIDERATIONS FOR COMMON USE IMPLEMENTATIONS For various reasons, airport operators are establishing a need increased flexibility include temporary relocation of for moving along the common use continuum. Based on in- airline operations owing to construction and demolition terviews and limited documentation on the subject, an airport and handling of seasonal overflows. operator may establish need through any one or combination Provide equal access and facilities. Many of the inter- of the following: viewees identified the need to ensure that airlines have equal facilities available to them, which also enables Promote competition. Several airport operators have competition. Some airports have installed LDCSs to en- implemented common use as a method of meeting their able smaller airlines, charters, and others to provide an FAA competition planning requirements. These plan- alternative to the manual boarding process. This solu- ning requirements apply to a limited number of airports. tion allows airlines that do not have LDCS to still sup- The FAA makes a determination and publishes a list of port automated, or electronic, boarding procedures. In large- and medium-hub airports that it requires to pre- addition, GIDS are increasingly being added to com- pare and submit a competition plan. These airports are mon use implementations. If GIDS are provided to the characterized as having one or two airlines controlling airlines by the airport, then airlines that do not have more than 50% of the annual passenger enplanements. their own GIDS can provide their passengers with in- Several of these airport operators have identified com- formation about flight status, standby passengers, and mon use as a method to enable the required competition other features that are provided by a GIDS system. at their airport, thus allowing the airport operator to Allow for new entrant carriers or expansion of existing have its PFCs approved to receive a grant issued under carriers. Several airport operators indicated that they the Airport Improvement Program. Many of these com- are concerned about the potential for large, dominant air petition plans use common use as a tool to provide rea- carrier operations either eliminating or greatly reducing sonable and necessary access to ensure that an airport operations at their airport. Without common use, these has a level playing field for all entrants to the market. airports would be unable to reassign these gates to other Increase efficiencies with limited resources. According carriers in a quick and efficient manner. Airport opera- to interviews, several airport operators needed to in- tors are implementing various levels of common use to crease service at their airports while keeping airline op- accommodate access requests of several new entrants erating costs down. These operators employed common and expanding carriers. use to increase gate utilization efficiency and to help Combination of all. Noted in a recent FAA summary defer capital expenditures that would otherwise be nec- document, an airport stated the following as the basis essary for gate, concourse, or terminal construction. for common use: Common use can enable airport operators to operate Installing common use ticketing equipment at ticket counters more efficiently and cost-effectively. Increased effi- and gates so that all airlines operating there will use identical ciency is also important if airports are to keep pace with gate check-in and gate CUTE equipment, thereby providing maximum flexibility in assigning gates, even on a per flight growing workloads brought on largely by low-cost car- basis, thereby increasing the opportunities for competition; pro- riers, which typically bring a higher number of flights vides Airline Entry Package and airport facilitates negotiations into a facility. Airports today are squeezing more peo- between requesting carriers and incumbents. ple through fewer resources. This is a growing concern today, because many existing terminal facilities were Airport operators that were interviewed all agreed that it not designed to accommodate such intense traffic. is critical for airport operators to identify the needs they are Increase flexibility of airport resources. For airport op- attempting to meet through common use and to clearly con- erators, a basic mandate today is increased flexibility in vey that need to all of the stakeholders. Once a need is clearly both costs and business models, which allows them to established, there is a growing list of issues an airport opera- adapt to shifts in the business environment. Both air- tor must consider. Key considerations that were raised in lines and airports are in the process of reinventing them- interviews and research included obtaining political backing, selves and developing business plans that are flexible identifying the proper business model, assessing impact on enough to make dramatic shifts in operations. To a large all operations, understanding airline operations, and making extent, this means changing the often-rigid agree- necessary modifications to airline agreements. Each of these ments that airports have with airlines. Other reasons for key considerations is discussed in this chapter.