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34 CHAPTER 3 Cost Analysis Introduction Because airlines and airports do not report suspensions of ramp operations to the FAA, there is little hard data available The objective of this research project was to review current on actual suspensions of ramp operations. Short-term sus- lightning detection and monitoring technology and airport pension of airport ramp operations does not generally close ramp operating procedures, and then use that information to the airport or cause en route delays or ground holds of traffic identify areas for possible improvements in efficiency and in destined for the affected airport. If ramp operations are sus- enhanced safety. Lightning monitoring systems were reviewed pended for a long time, however, all the available ramp space in Chapter 1. The results of a survey of airport and airline may become occupied, leaving no space to handle incoming ramp procedures for nearby cloud-to-ground lightning events new arrivals. In this case, the airport manager may have to and of the lightning technology employed were summarized take the rare action to close the airport and report the closure in Chapter 2. to the FAA. It should be noted that such closures are not a di- The objective of Chapter 3 is to perform a cost analysis, in- rect response to the lightning hazard, but rather a response to cluding both the direct and indirect operational costs resulting not having the ramp capacity to accept new arrivals. Except from the closure of ramps and aprons and the financial and for busy airports with limited ramp space, we would suspect operational impacts to the National Airspace System. The that this is uncommon, although we have no firm data to sup- analytical process examines the incremental cost savings that port this conclusion. could be expected from modified or enhanced lightning detec- While the suspension of ramp operations does not directly tion and warning systems or from improved operating proce- or immediately affect flight operations, planes scheduled for dures. The implications of the ripple effects of aircraft arriving departure will not be able to load or leave their gates. Al- late at destinations are incorporated into the analysis. though arriving planes may be able to taxi to their arrival gates (if the gates are not already occupied), baggage typically will not be able to be unloaded. After all the gates are occu- Airport Operations pied, newly arriving aircraft will have to park elsewhere on During Lightning Events the airport. Cloud-to-ground lightning strokes present a clear and immediate danger for ground personnel involved in outdoor Specific Impacts and Costs ramp operations, such as aircraft fueling, baggage handling, of Suspending Ramp Operations food service, tug operations, and guiding and directing aircraft to their assigned gates. When this danger presents, Ramp operating procedures vary from airline to airline. In airport ramp operations are suspended until the danger has general, however, ramp closures mean passed. Decisions about ground personnel and ramp operations No new passenger enplaning or deplaning, are made by the airports and airlines, not by the FAA. Indi- No new loading or unloading of baggage, vidual airlines, companies providing airport workers, and The baggage already loaded onto carts stays put, airport management often have very different procedures No servicing of aircraft (fuel, food service, etc.), and standards for identifying and responding to potential Passengers and flight crew remain on the aircraft (or stay lightning hazards, as was documented in Chapter 2. in the terminals waiting to board),