Synthesis of Information Related to Airport Practices, Topic S03-15. How Airports Plan for Changing Aircraft Capacity-the Effects of Upgauging

“Upgauging,” is an industry technique in which airlines increase capacity by adding seats on existing jets and replacing smaller planes with larger ones. One Wall Street Journal 2015 study showed U.S. airlines offering 12% more domestic seats than two years ago, but 4.4% fewer flights. The result of upgauging has required airports of all sizes to adjust. Potential impacts could be felt on both landside and airside facilities and operations. This research will describe issues that airports need to attend to and accommodations made in maintaining flexibility to accommodate aircraft and passenger changes from airline upgauging. The principal investigator will review literature and conduct a survey of a representative sample of airports, including selected interviews. A concise report will be generated that summarizes the results of the literature review, survey and interviews. The report will include exemplary practices for occupational data collection, analysis, and reporting, as well as gaps in knowledge and recommended research. Topics to be explored include, but are not limited to: (1) • Resizing internal corridor space and passenger hold areas to handle the increased number of passengers disembarking from the larger planes; (2) Expanding concession areas to serve the additional travelers, and to help defray the costs of renovations; (3) Issues and strains on facilities-parking garage, and terminal non-secure areas; (4) Reconfiguring terminals at smaller airports designed for slim regional jets to accommodate airlines’ new fleets; (5) New jet bridges that can accommodate larger planes and connect them to terminals; (6) How use of adjacent gates not in their lease affects the airport, including gate rental a higher ad hoc rates; (7) Apron / ramp restriping; (8) Shared use equipment; (9) When aircraft arrive early with no gate, where does the airport operator queue planes awaiting gate space?; (10) What are new terminal plans?; (11) Flexibility and leasing are key. Design for flexibility and write good use and lease agreements for adaptation; (12) Some larger or more sophisticated airports use "balanced facility requirements" (Orlando); and (13) What is in the toolkit and what is the checklist for planning to upgauge.


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 11-03, Topic S03-15

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Airport Cooperative Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC    20001

    Federal Aviation Administration

    800 Independence Avenue, SW
    Washington, DC  United States  20591
  • Project Managers:

    Staba, Gail

  • Start Date: 20161030
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • Source Data: RiP Project 41206

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01615484
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 11-03, Topic S03-15
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Oct 30 2016 1:00AM