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When airliners arrive to major or medium airports, who is actually responsible for assigning gates and deciding who goes where?

Is that up to Ground? The Airline? The Airport Authorities/Management?

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On a long-term basis the airline leases the rights to use certain gates from the airport authority. Then the airline decides which flights use which of their leased gates hour-to-hour. This information is transmitted to pilots via ACARS or a company air-to-ground radio frequency.

If there is a separate Ramp Control operated by the airline it is possible that they also have access to the gate assignments but I'm not sure about that.

Ground Control does not assign gates, but generally routes traffic to the gate the pilots say they're going to.

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  • $\begingroup$ Good answer- Ordinarily if the airline has a ramp control facility at a particular airport (usually its hub) they will have access to gate assignments so they can route their aircraft to the assigned gate once it leaves the movement area (taxiway). Often the ramp control facility looks like a mini ATC tower situated near or next to the gates. $\endgroup$
    – 757toga
    Aug 30, 2021 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer. You could clarify, that this is only true for FAA-Land. In most parts of Europe for example apron control assigns the gate to the pilots. $\endgroup$
    – pcfreakxx
    Sep 1, 2021 at 8:07

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