Airport Operations in real life

Do it! Used to know an Airplane pilot. He made $500 a day for flying… didnt matter if he flew an hour or all day. He also owned a bar he paid cash for! … Wish i had thought of that.

Listening to ATC ground streams i can definetely hear gates are problematic. Going from available to not available just like that.

Would love to hear from their side why it sounds so unorganized

I think it’s just organised chaos… A gate going from available to not available would most likely be down to an aircraft arriving at it, controllers just have a lot of gates and one way systems to navigate planes through so it kinda sounds more busy than it is.

Although i’m not saying it’s not busy, should look at big airports like Heathrow, most aprons have three or four mobile aircraft on them at a time…

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From what i hear when im listening its not the ground controllers, but the ramp that seems chaotic.

Sure, be happy to elaborate.

Gates are controlled/owned/leased by the airlines. Large airports have ramp areas separate from ground control facilitates. Ramp and airlines communicate which gates are available and which aircraft are directed to which gates.

Gates are premium costs for airlines so they try to minimize the time they’re empty. They schedule aircraft for gates hours or even days in advance and with minimal empty time, but if an aircraft is late on pushing for some reason, they have to reschedule the inbound aircraft to another one, or in a lot of cases have them wait until one becomes available.

Making matters worse as aircraft arrive late the problems cascade into other airports trying to schedule arrivals and gates. When a plane lands their gate may still be occupied by another plane that’s scheduled to depart soon, so if they have a boarding delay, go “mechanical” (discover a last minute maintenance problem)… well, you get the idea. It’s a logistic nightmare every day, even with some good software helping you. Higher cost Airlines generally schedule more available empty time on their flight schedules to try and minimize delays.

Not sure if or how you could implement this, but that’s the story behind gates. Probably more info than you wanted…

The ATC facilities controlling the airports arrivals and departures are another critical area, as well as the instrument landing systems installed at the airport. These become critical in poor Weather, and can really affect an airports revenue if they are missing them or they are poorly maintained.

I’d be interested in helping you guys make this as technically accurate as feasible. If you have more question, please feel free to ask

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(moved a few posts from the introduction thread to a new thread, could perhaps use a better name?)

Gate allocation depends on country. US gives control over the ramps to airlines. In Europe, it’s airport service and as such it’s usually allocated by ground ATC together with handling services.
Concerning gates - there’s a couple of solutions again. born2fly describes US situation again. In Europe, it’s usually part of deal for flights. You take an option, whether you take any stand (and usually this means “remote”), prefer a gate (and you’ll have it ready if any is free), or require a gate (and you’ll get it, or cash ffrom airport for not fulfilling obligation).
Reasons to be moved from a gate? At least a couple. Some are already mentioned. Others will still exist - plane not ready to depart, missed slot, no clearance due to overload of ATC station etc. You can extend the list - really extend.


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Hey Gloom!

I’ve operated quite a bit in Europe, and other places, and you’re right. Ramps are mostly controlled by the airport in my experience. It varies by airport here in the states. Chicago O’Hare for example, has ramps controlled by major airlines, and then common use gates for airlines with less of a presence. They are controlled and contracted out by large airlines or private ATC contractors (a recent change at the L Gates).

Europe and most other countries seem to utilize hard stands a lot more than we do here in the United States, for sure. I don’t care for them myself, as inclement weather makes deplaning hard on PAX, not to mention the disabled. I also think jet bridges expedite boarding. Course, this is all at the expense of space and cost to the airport. The good airlines get the best gates, of course.

I’ve always wondered though how gates are distributed to Airlines. It seems some are bid on, and then awarded permanently or leased for a period of time. There seem to be common use gates for smaller Airlines with less presence but I have no idea how thone slots are allocated. Any ideas?