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Common Use as Applied Throughout the Industry 9 · U.S. Application (Airport Characteristics) · Current Range of Common-Use Facilities and Services within the United States · Cost-Benefit (Overview) · Other Industries U.S. Application (General) Many U.S. airport operators are taking the building-block approach to common use, starting with international facilities, and possibly airport-operator-owned/controlled facilities, and then determining how to progress from there. Very few airport operators have implemented full com- mon use throughout their airports. Several airport operators have implemented common use at their international gates. Operators managing smaller airports are beginning to implement com- mon use at their domestic gates. Other airport operators have implemented common use in a single terminal, which serves both international and domestic flights. When an airport operator is considering implementing common use, the operator must con- sider many factors, including the airport's specific carrier allocation, the size of the airport, the use of current facilities, and planned future use of facilities. These and many more considerations are discussed in Chapter 3 and the associated appendixes. Current research indicates that there are various ways to analyze these factors. Some airport operators, based on the carrier allocation, choose not to implement common use at all. Other airport operators choose to implement com- mon use in their non-hub gates and terminals. The research revealed that a current trend in U.S. airports is that implementation of com- mon use in areas primarily used by hub carriers is not normally considered. If an airport is con- sidered a hub for an airline, that airline generally is using the current facilities to full capacity and may even require additional facilities. In addition, an airline with a large number of gates at a particular airport can control the growth, or contraction, of services within the scope of their lease space. Another trend is to implement common use at primarily international gates. This is seen as helpful in gaining international service for an airport, given that the international airlines are more accustomed to common-use systems at airports and their service to a U.S. city tends to be a limited number of flights per day or week. Airport operators provide common use at their international gates to make it more attractive for international airlines to provide service to their airports. Examples of airport operator approaches to common use can be found in the case studies included in Appendixes A1 through A4. These case studies highlight specific airports and the rea- sons for, and experiences with, their implementation of common use. U.S. Airport Applications (Considerations) In considering common-use implementations, airport operators must work closely with the airlines servicing their airports. When considering common use, an airport operator, working with the airlines, needs to determine if the common-use resources will cost less than, or at least equal to, the cost of using dedicated resources. As airlines move toward lowering their overall costs to keep in line with the market, airport operators become an important source of cost savings for the airlines when considering where they are going to provide service, reduce service, or simply cease operations. An airport operator should consider many aspects when looking at whether or not to move to common use. Examples, based on the case studies in Appendixes A1 through A4, include
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10 Reference Guide on Understanding Common Use at Airports effects on planning, facilities, business, airside and landside operations, design and construction, and curbside and off-site operations. Additionally, airport operators must consider technology implications, because technology is a major element of enabling common-use resources. Airport operators that implemented common use needed to consider the effects to the facilities. In some cases, airport operators needed to take over maintenance operations traditionally managed by the airlines. In these cases, the airport operators either took over the work them- selves or put contracts in place to provide those services. These maintenance services included millwork, equipment such as bag scales and bag belts, janitorial services within traditionally airline-leased space, passenger boarding bridges, and other equipment. Many airport operators already provided at least some of these services; in such cases, the effects are to increase these existing services. Airport operators also had to consider business effects when implementing common use. These effects included taking over assignment of resources, such as gate counters, check-in coun- ters, baggage claims, and other common-use resources. Other effects included asset ownership, leasing changes, and management of resource assignments to support existing food and retail concessions. These business effects were the most challenging areas to deal with and required a good working relationship with the airlines operating at the airport. In many of the interviews and research, it was clear that an early working relationship with the airlines was key to the suc- cess of the common-use implementation. In most cases, if an airline is using their gates at full capacity, then the airport operator needs to consider what benefit implementing common use will bring. At many airports, full gate uti- lization is defined as six to eight turns per gate--sometimes this is because of noise restrictions that limit the hours of operations and sometimes other factors are involved. An airport opera- tor needs to determine what criteria will be used to identify full gate utilization. Even with full gate utilization, some airport operators may determine that a common-use implementation is still appropriate and continue to move forward. Other factors relevant to making that determi- nation are discussed in Chapter 4. Operational effects also needed to be carefully examined when considering a common-use implementation. On the airside, airport operators became responsible for many elements that they had not been responsible for in the past. Airport operators had to keep in mind that if a gate had been moved to common use, the airport operator needed to take ownership of passenger boarding bridges (see Figure 2-2) if they did not already own them. Thus, a financial cost had to be considered that might not normally have been considered in plans to move to a common-use implementation. Airport operators also became responsible for gate striping. Many airport operators developed a common gate striping schema to support multiple airlines and multiple aircraft types at common-use gates. Gate assignment responsibilities also had to be managed for all airlines using the common-use gates. This management was performed by the airport operator, airline consortium, third-party contract, or other management process that allowed all airlines fair and reasonable access to these resources. Airport operators needed to consider the cost implications, service levels, and staffing implications of managing gate assignments. In assigning gates, other resources such as check-in desks and baggage claims were managed through the same mechanism. Landside operations were being affected because of the possible movement of airlines from one area of an airport to another. In practical application, airlines generally were not moved around an airport; however, the management of the curb and curbside resources (e.g., curb-side check-in) were considered. Common use also affected the design and construction of new facilities at an airport. Design- ers considering implementing common use in a new construction project needed to consider