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I'm looking at the Arriving flights page of the Vancouver Airport and in many cases there are several planes coming from the same airport, arriving at the same time, all at the same gate.

Does it count for only one plane and they are affiliated companies?

Here are some screenshots:

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3 Answers 3

This has to do with codesharing or codeshare. Two or more airlines can agree to share the same route and operate it with only one aircraft to reduce cost of operation.

See the WikiPedia article on codeshare 1 Here an excerpt:

A codeshare agreement, sometimes simply codeshare, is an aviation business arrangement where two or more airlines share the same flight. A seat can be purchased on one airline but is actually operated by a cooperating airline under a different flight number or code

In the case where multiple flights are listed arriving at the same time from the same departure airports, there will only be one physical airplane serving the connection but under different flight numbers and operators. The different flight numbers and operators are listed to make it easier for passengers to identify their flight if codeshares are being used.

On busy airports or where there is not enough space on the information displays to show all flights of a codeshare, the relation is only shown once with rotating flight numbers.

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As others have already said, those are codeshare flights. Just to clarify, this means that there is only one physical plane flying this route at this particular time but it has several flight numbers for marketing reasons (it can also make a difference for things like frequent flyer miles, etc.)

Often, a three-digit flight number means the relevant airline is the “real” (or “operating”) carrier, whereas longer numbers are used by “virtual” (or “marketing”) carriers. Thus the first flight in your list would actually be operated by Lufthansa, the next one by Virgin Atlantic, etc.

There are several entries on the arrival and departure list because different passengers will expect a different airline name and flight number (the codes like LH492 or AC9101) and need to be able to find it in the list. In some airports, there is only one line on the video displays in the terminal, with the flight number rotating every 30 seconds or so.

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"Often, a three-digit flight number means the relevant airline is the “real” (or “operating”) carrier," incorrect, number of digits in the flight number has nothing to do with it. It's purely airline dependent (e.g. KLM uses 3 digit numbers on intercontinental flights, 4 digit numbers on European flights). –  jwenting Aug 14 '14 at 9:38
@jwenting Indeed, which is why I used the word “often”… What's incorrect on the other hand is claiming that it has nothing to do with it (quite an absolute statement!) when in fact many airlines do follow this convention. –  Relaxed Aug 14 '14 at 9:58
Just because some airlines do it like this, it's got nothing to do with it. There's no IATA or ICAO rule about it, which is about the only thing that would cause it "to have something to do with it". Might as well claim that internal flights always have 4 digit numbers and intercontinental flights 3 digit numbers, after all some airlines do that... –  jwenting Aug 14 '14 at 11:02
@jwenting “Just” because some airlines do it, it's got something to do with it, it's that simple… I am describing a (probabilistic) fact, I never implied there was a rule that mandate it, I would not write that it's often like that if it was the case. –  Relaxed Aug 14 '14 at 11:52

As SentryRaven correctly answered, they are codeshares.

The reason is mainly that passengers want to buy tickets for the whole trip from a single company, because it is easier and because it makes it clear responsibility of that airline to rebook them on another flight if they miss a connection due to delay of previous flight.

So to be able to offer better choice of connections, multiple airlines agree to sell tickets on the same flight and the flight then gets a separate number from each of them. It is especially common on short flights.

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Airlines can sell tickets on each other's flights without codeshare. –  Relaxed Aug 13 '14 at 8:27
Codesharing and airline alliances is the way around old flag carrier policies. Politicians see it as a sign of manlyhood for their nation if they have a flag carrier. Therefore, many more airlines are kept alive without an economical reason. Just look at Alitalia for example. With codesharing and alliances they can almost operate like one big airline. –  Peter Kämpf Aug 13 '14 at 12:07
@PeterKämpf: Well, flag carriers are still often the only way to operate in the air transport market which is still heavily regulated in big parts of the world. –  Jan Hudec Aug 13 '14 at 13:02
It's complicated either way but as far as I know, cooperation (selling tickets, going around flag carrier policies, etc.) is perfectly possible with interline agreements. Codesharing seems to be about marketing. –  Relaxed Aug 13 '14 at 21:40
@jwenting What makes you think that? You are definitely not entitled any compensation if you booked the two tickets separately, even on the same airline. But if you booked the journey as one ticket (from one of the airlines or from a travel agent), you might be covered even without codeshare (as opposed to a mere interline agreement). –  Relaxed Aug 14 '14 at 9:55

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