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Don't miss the bus.

"We don't need buses, we have passenger boarding bridges!" was a common response heard in the past by Contrac staff, when talking to airport managers about transporting passengers by bus.

Since then, the approach of modern airports, airlines and ground handling companies towards buses has changed totally. It's fair to say that the positioning of every boarding bridge creates one or two remote parking positions and, therefore, generates a definite need for airside buses.

Aircraft can only earn money while they are in the air--therefore shorter turnaround times are of great importance to airlines. When aircraft are parked at a bridge position with passengers passing through a single passenger door (narrow-bodied aircraft), or a maximum of two passenger doors (wide-bodies), this means that these stand positions will be blocked for more than one hour. Also, when the possibilities of expanding an airport's terminal are limited because of infrastructure or economical reasons, additional aircraft will need to be handled at remote parking positions, their smooth operation is guaranteed by the use of passenger buses. During the turnaround of an Airbus A321, some 185 passengers will disembark and board in Less than 45 minutes--it's a realistic requirement of today's airlines. This is clearly not possible if you are using a stand with just a single airbridge. Consequently, to achieve such fast turnaround times, about half of the passenger volume has to be accommodated through the rear door, where a bus will transfer those passengers to the terminal and vice versa. Low-cost airlines can only offer attractive fares if ground handling cost can be reduced to almost zero and ground times to the minimum. The use of costly and time-consuming bridge-equipped parking positions is almost out of the question. The chance to have passengers walk straight to and from the terminal--although maybe preferred--might not be realistic for various reasons, such as shared gates and busy apron traffic. Therefore, airport buses are the solution for fast and economic passenger transfers.

A further operational advantage provided by buses at airports is inter-terminal connection. As apron space in the vicinity of terminals is limited, architects and airport planners move aircraft parking positions away from the main terminal to mid-field terminals or satellites. As an alternative to the costly connections possible by either underground or over-ground train systems, airports tend more and more to favour the more flexible and economical solutions offered by buses.

For all these reasons it's true to say that it is not realistic to run a modern airport operation without buses.

However, when talking about airport buses there are still some airports operating traditional city buses, ignoring the obvious advantages of special airport buses such as the market-leading COBUS family!

'One COBUS replaces two city buses' is a proven fact as the flagship, the COBUS 3000, offers the double passenger transport capacity (up to 111) of a conventional city bus while consuming only 1/3 of its diesel fuel.

"When completing the 35-minute turnaround of a Boeing 737 for one of our low-cost airline customers, the number of passengers dictated that we needed to use three city buses, yet despite this, there was still a tremendous time pressure. Today we are carrying out this same operation stress-free- with a COBUS 3000," was the statement made by a German Airport Manager after having started to operate a COBUS recently.

The full-length low-floor passenger area offered through the three extra wide passenger doors on both sides of the COBUS is supported by an automatic 'kneeling' system, which means the passenger has only to take a single step when getting on or off. This guarantees the very best in terms of safety, efficiency, and comfort, while continuing to provide an economical transport service.

Although offering engines that comply with the latest emission requirements, the COBUS offers a two-way exhaust system, which automatically guides exhaust fumes away from the opened passenger doors. Maximum reliability is guaranteed, as the COBUS 3000 and the 2700-5 are based on a series made by Daimler-Chrysler which have a low-floor chassis and a corrosion-resistant aluminium body.

A qualified Contrac service engineer personally hands over every COBUS on site, while driver and maintenance personnel are given intensive training. After-sales support is provided through Contrac Germany, its subsidiaries or local representatives, as well as any Daimler-Chrysler service organisation.

You will find the market leader (which has more than 200 customers) at more than 185 airports worldwide.

For further information please contact:
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Title Annotation:Advertisement Feature
Publication:Airports International
Article Type:Advertisement
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2004
Previous Article:System integration.
Next Article:Smooth connection.

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