View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Thursday, October 02, 2003

Why Gates Matter

From to time, I've beaten up on United Airlines and their enablers over at City Hall. If you don't live in Denver, why should you care? Here's Why. Scroll down to the list of airports and their gate usage requirements, and you'll see this is a widespread problem. If United can lock out Frontier from growing here in Denver, other large airlines can do the same to their mid- and small-size competition. The smaller guys want to grow, and if they have a better model, one that doesn't depend on their slipstreaming benefits from the larger guys, the traveler is the only one that gets hurt by not letting them do so. It's a story with national implications for the airline industry.

The large airlines will claim that by signing long-term leases, they're entitled to lock down gates like this. Sure, if they're going to use them. These deals are meant to guarantee use for the larger airlines, not to lock out their competition. And to cry poor so you can renegotiate lower rates, while still claiming the competitive benefits of exclusive-use contracts is wrong.

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