Miami-Dade County commissioners have approved a new 15-year agreement regulating the allocation of gates at Miami Int'l, Miami Today reported.

Under the terms of the new agreement, high-volume airlines such as American Airlines (AA, Dallas/Fort Worth) have been given priority with around 77 out of the 140 gates at the airport to be given preferential allocation. Of these, American Airlines will get priority access at an estimated 61 gates.

The new rules do not bestow exclusivity on gate usage, nor do they entail leases.

An airline will be granted a preferential gate for every five departures it operates out of Miami Int'l for a set fee. It will then be able to brand the gate and use it whenever needed. However, the gate will still have to be made available to other carriers if a need arises. The airport will also reserve the right to change the location or the number of preferential gates for emergency and operational requirements.

The usage of the gates will be subject to continuous monitoring. Airlines underusing their allocated gates over a period of 150 days will risk losing their preferential access. Every five years, the local Aviation Department will conduct a mandatory assessment and reallocation of gates.

While American Airlines will get all its preferential gates in the North Terminal, it will not be granted exclusive use of the terminal.

According to the ch-aviation capacity module, American Airlines is by far the largest airline at Miami with 2,347 weekly departures and a 69.5% market share by capacity. The second-largest passenger operator at the Florida gateway, Delta Air Lines, also bases its crews out of Miami but operates a meagre 186 weekly departures.

The new rules have also adjusted airport fees and charges. After the amendments, domestic airlines will no longer share the cost of facilities used solely for international services.

Finally, after a bitter political dispute, the new rules also impose an obligation on all tenants of the airport, including consortiums, to pay employees an hourly wage of at least USD15.52.