Re-living this thread as I have come up with something that made me wonder following Southwest Airlines operations at ATL following Air Tran merger. WN is known for their short turnaround time. Yee... they're not fast as they say, but still are still quick. And their game is point-to-point all the way me thinks.
Well, ATL is mainly a hub-and-spoke connecting airport and DL's fortress, thus having awfully lots of flights per day (DL alone has more than 600 flights a day). So....WN won't be able to deliver normal turnarounds at ATL, let alone short ones, as I suppose the slots are drying up in this very moment (i'm talking about tarmac space, jetways, ground service and of course ATC and runway limitations). BUT, they should be able to turn the 737 around at their destination (small uncongested airport) for a relatively shorter time without penalty. The same for any airline.
So I was thinking, could the turnaround time be based not only by type but also influenced by airport service availability (ie, slots)?
If ATL had lotsa slots to throw away, then it would be feasible to turn an A320 in, say, 60 min without delay (fingers crossed); but if indeed ATL was slot-constrained, then that turn time could be longer for the reasons mentioned above.
This could restrict small planes at LHR for the very same reason, you won't be able to turn a Metro every 20min with the passengers, services, big airliners and ATCs. Just ask yourself if even the fuel trucks would be able to deliver, what about tarmac buses, baggage spots, etc...The fewer the slots, the longer the allowable turnaround time. By inversion, the more the slots, the shorter the allowable turnaround time.