The National Academies

ACRP Synthesis 11-03/Topic S01-29 [Active (Synthesis)]

Airport Practices for Onboarding a New Passenger Airline
[ ACRP 11-03 (Synthesis of Information Related to Airport Practices) ]

  Project Data
Funds: $55,000
Staff Responsibility: Jordan Christensen
Research Agency: DPrather
Principal Investigator: Daniel Prather
Fiscal Year: 2023


The starting of new service by an airline requires advanced planning and coordination to have a launch day and ongoing success. From an airport's side of the partnership, the number of people and/or departments involved may vary on airport size and organizational structure. Preparing for a new airline can include discussions/providing information on available lease space for different airline functions (baggage, operations, etc.); policies and procedures for ticket counters, hold rooms, ramp, baggage make-up, etc.; landside, operating restrictions or potential hazards (wingspan restricted gates, etc.); emergency preparedness, and numerous other considerations.

The objective of this synthesis is to describe diverse airport practices and approaches of how airport staff prepare to onboard a new passenger airline. 

Information to be described in a concise report includes (but is not limited to):
•    Describe procedures and practices airports use to prepare to onboard a new airline, this synthesis does not include procedures and practices by an existing airline at the airport expanding service. 
•    Describe items that need to be addressed when onboarding a new airline, to include:
o    available space for different airline functions (ticket counters, hold rooms, ramp, baggage make-up, etc.),
o    policies, procedures, and lease and operating agreements,
o    potential landside impacts,
o    operating restrictions or potential hazards (wingspan restricted gates, etc.),
o    emergency preparedness,
o    other considerations.
•    Describe airline expectations from an airport’s perspective (for example equipment needed, ground service equipment (GSE), fueling, space, etc.) 
•    Provide an example checklist of how airport prepare for onboarding new airlines, and other relevant documents if needed.
•    Describe differences in approaches undertaken by airports and use case examples that include a variety of classifications of airports that may include:
o    Municipal (no existing commercial service)
o    Origin/Destination
o    Hub
o    International (which may have a cargo component)
o    Space constrained airports

Information will be collected through literature review and interviews with selected airports for the development of case examples, knowledge gaps and suggestions for research to address those gaps will be identified.

Partial Information Sources

Giovanelli, Lucia; Rotondo, Federico. A conceptual framework for accountability of the airport industry in the transition from ex-ante regulation to ex-post regulation. Research in Transportation Business & Management, Volume 37, Issue 0, 2020

ACRP Report 18, Passenger Air Service Development Techniques, 2017. https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/162396.aspx 

ACRP Report 36, Airport/Airline Agreements – Practices and Characteristics, 2017. https://www.trb.org/Publications/Blurbs/164482.aspx 

TRB Staff
Jordan Christensen
Email: jchristensen@nas.edu

Meeting Dates
First Panel: July 25, 2023
Teleconference with Consultant: September 26, 2023
Second Panel: April 4, 2024

Topic Panel
Marlene Arrona, Long Beach Airport
Joseph Carney    , Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport
Rhona DiCamillo, DKMG Consulting
Kaitlyn Price, Charlotte Douglas International Airport
Scott Riddle, Santa Clara County
Kenneth Stevens, University of Westminster
Joe Carlini, FAA Liaison    


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