Bob Hope Airport will soon open all ticket counters to competing airlines that serve the airfield to better handle overloaded crowds.
After the conversion is complete, the counters will be under the same processing system, meaning Southwest could tap the resources of U.S. Airways counters if needed.
The Burbank-Glendale-Pasadena Airport Authority on Tuesday approved up to roughly $2.5 million for the second phase of the project, to be completed by Atlanta-based SITA Applications Systems.
SITA has been working on the design phase of the project since September under an original $4.3-million contract.
Construction of the new ticket and gate counters, as well as the common processing system, is slated to begin this summer, with completion expected in the spring of 2013, according to an airport staff report.
Once up and running, the ticket-processing resources at the airport’s 14 gates will be linked, so any airline can use any counter.
“You can make instant decisions about where resources need to be — and without causing any disruption in the ticketing or the passenger boarding procedures,” said airport spokesman Victor Gill.
All of the funding for the project is covered through a $4.50 facility fee charged to all passengers departing from the airport.
All of the airlines at Bob Hope — including the airport’s biggest air-service provider, Southwest Airlines — have been working with airport officials on the new system’s design.
“We feel we can reach a beneficial system that will be effective for all parties," said Southwest spokeswoman Ashley Dillon.
The main challenge, she added, is that these systems may provide a common-use environment at a given airport, but since they’re not common among airfields, airlines must still tailor their operations.
“They still vary by airport and require our technology folks to adapt and certify our operating systems for each airport uniquely,” Dillon said. “It may be common use to the airport, but it’s not common use to us.”
More airports are switching to the joint processing system, starting with Las Vegas McCarron International Airport in 1993 for all domestic flights.
Several other airports have either moved to a common system or are in transition, including John Wayne Airport, San Diego International Airport and Oakland International Airport.