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OCR for page 135
Making a Compelling Case to Airlines 137 Appropriate Budget Each airport should develop an ASD communication and travel strategy that matches the air- port's budget. By analyzing the goals that the airport has set forth, the ASD team can weigh which carriers merit a headquarters meeting, which can be met at conferences, and which can be com- municated with via phone and email. Final Negotiations During the course of negotiations, the subject of incentives will likely arise. The increased competition among airports has resulted in airlines expecting that some type of incentive assis- tance will be provided to help offset start-up costs and enhance a carrier's brand recognition in the ASD team's market. Once an airline has firmly established an interest in serving the ASD team's market, and per- haps even proposed a start-up date for the services, some negotiations may be necessary to agree upon the final details. Once an airline has bought into the business case to serve a particular route, the final details usually hinge on how to minimize costs and support marketing efforts. Summary · Airlines are particularly interested in learning new information on the factors that underlie the actual or potential demand that an area may support, including demographic and economic data. Airport cost information is also important. · The route forecast is an important part of any proposal that will be presented to a target airline. It represents an airport's best estimate of how successful the new service will be. It essentially tells the airline how the new service could be operated, what the operational and financial assumptions and results would be, and whether it would be a meaningful contributor to an airline's bottom line. · Industry events and conferences provide year-round opportunities to interact with airlines and strengthen communication. · ASD teams should recognize the strategic importance of who they take to the meetings with airlines, whether at a conference or the airline's headquarters.