Airport gate allocations

Discussion in 'Other Public Transport' started by telstarbox, 21 Jan 2015.

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  1. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    At airports, are the gates decided in advance based on the timetable, maintenance etc, or on the day by the control tower?

    What are the factors which determine whether a walkway/steps/buses are used?

    Also, am I right in thinking the more distant gates are cheaper for airlines to use, hence why EasyJet are 'over the bridge' at Gatwick North?

    Finally, are there any locations where the cabin crew do ground handling such as checking in pax before working the flight itself- seem to remember I saw this done at a smaller airport a few years ago.
     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2015
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  3. Shrimper

    Shrimper Member

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    I know Manchester have a ground planning team in the airport operations department, and once a stand is assigned it is passed to ATC. They cannot assign a stand until it has been vacated which is why gates are generally not known until about 45 minutes before departure (and less for LoCos).

    Walkway etc depends on the contract with the airport; again at Manchester Ryanair often use gates with airbridges but do not use them as they prefer their own airstairs and disembarking passengers outside. Airlines might have their own preferred gates which will be allocated wherever possible (not sure if this is contractual or not) but are probably not guaranteed. In the US, airports tend to operate differently as most airlines 'own' their gates and will only use these.

    I've seen cabin crew board passengers at Blackpool when Ryanair used to operate there, but never anything else as they didn't have the time. It's possible that flyBE staff do at some of the remote Scottish island airports though.
     
  4. telstarbox

    telstarbox Established Member

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    Thinking back I recall the crew did the check in desk, then closed the check in and went through security to do boarding and work the flight back. It was easyJet at Split when at the time they only did an out and back flight 2 or 3 times a week.

    Is it usual for a short haul aircraft to start and end the day at the base airport - ie are aircraft and crew ever 'stabled' overnight to work an early flight back?
     
  5. NLC1072

    NLC1072 Member

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    Gates get allocated upon their vacation of a previous airliner, everything you see at an airport comes at a cost to the airline such as the jet bridge. A jet bridge typically costs around E100 per use at some airports! The airport will hire out everything they can think to make a profit on including the amount of time an aircraft is even on the ground.
     
  6. Shrimper

    Shrimper Member

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    AFAIK it depends on airline - BA have quite a few aircraft 'night stopping' out of base and KLM and Air France also have aircraft at Manchester over night. LoCos tend not to as costs can increase as you need to put crew up in hotels. Ryanair always end up back at base, I think easyJet have a night stop at AMS but this should change when they open a crew base there.
     
  7. starrymarkb

    starrymarkb Established Member

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    Stands/Gates* are assigned by Airport Operations and will appear on a screen in the tower for the Ground controller (or Tower at smaller airport) to pass on to the aircraft. (ie Speedbird 123 taxi via Alpha to Stand 521)

    Things taken into account are aircraft size, whether it's a Domestic or International Arrival (for example if the Domestic stands at T5 are full the aircraft will be put on an international stand, the jetway will not be attached and the passengers will leave through the rear steps for a bus to Domestic arrivals) the aircraft's next Duty and the airline's facilities at the gate

    For Example Easyjet at Bristol the first flights are almost always bus boarding as they park up overnight on remote stands for line maintenance, during the day they use the main terminal, with the last arrivals parking on remote stands and passengers being bused back to the terminal. Ryanair tend to park at the Terminal


    *Aircraft Park on stands, Gate refers to the area in the terminal where passengers have their final boarding pass checks. Their numbers usually don't match, ie at Glasgow Gate 10 is stand 4, at Heathrow T5 Gate B43 is Stand 543
     
    Last edited: 21 Jan 2015
  8. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    Some airport/airline combinations have particular gate/stand combinations, e.g. Emirates at Newcastle because only one gate can cope with a Boeing 777-300.
     
  9. plannerman

    plannerman Member

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    I'm massively cynical about the last-minute gate allocations we see in the UK, when in the foreign airports I use the gate allocations seem to be determined well in advance. Flying from Stockholm Arlanda for example, the gate number is available as soon as online check in opens (24h before departure for SAS).
    I do think that a lot of the UK approach is about keeping pax spending money in the shops.
     
  10. starrymarkb

    starrymarkb Established Member

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    It is, plus facilities at the gate are often minimal (ie Bristol's new Pier just has a few benches - some of the gates in the main building have no seating at all and the queues snake around the terminal). For example the Air FranceKLM flights are always on stand 21 as it can't hold anything bigger then a Fokker the KLM Cityhopper F70 and Hop! ATR both use that stand (leaving the larger ones available for Boeings/Airbii) and the waiting area is painted/furnished to AFKLM spec.

    Heathrow I can understand somewhat as it is so busy (but Airlines usually have a small selection of gates they normally use)
     
    Last edited: 23 Jan 2015
  11. button_boxer

    button_boxer Established Member

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    The revamp of security at Manchester T1 a few years ago is a case in point - it feels like IKEA now, the way you have to follow a specific route through the duty free shop to get from the screening point to the departure lounge.
     
  12. Jonny

    Jonny Established Member

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    Newcastle airport is very similar - rather annoying when it's for the first of two or more legs (like my last trip through there, and most likely the next one as well).
     
  13. dosxuk

    dosxuk Member

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    That's certainly not a feature unique to UK airports.
     
  14. Shrimper

    Shrimper Member

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    Almost certainly!

    In Manchester they wouldn't formally allocate a gate until it was free - you knew that some aircraft would always use a certain gate (Emirates A380 stand 12 for example as it is the only A380 gate) and I know they have planning software with which they plan to allocate gates and stands (so in my role we could find out from ground planning staff what stand was likely to be used, as could handling agents), they just wouldn't confirm or make the gate public until it was known to be available - presumably as seating at gates at MAN is usually rather limited, and short notice changes could be a pain (plus I imagine there would always be a few people who don't notice and delay the flight!).
     
  15. Murph

    Murph Member

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    In some cases, the airlines have a contract to use particular gates under normal circumstances. E.g. BA & BD for their domestic shuttles, so that they are beside their premium lounges.
     
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