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OCR for page 63
Taking Stock of the Situation 65 Fares too high Top destinations not served non-stop No low-cost carrier Unreliable service Inadequate capacity Difficult connections Turboprop rather than RJ Circuitous routings 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% Percent of airports surveyed Figure 5.4. Major air service problems at small community airports. How can this information be most easily gathered? The ASD team can solicit the input and Consider: feedback of the core stakeholder constituency, involve them in the process, hold meetings with Should airlines be them to discover what their key outbound destinations are, and solicit their opinions regarding their perceived air service deficiencies. Identifying the core stakeholders of the community, required to pro- requesting their input and acknowledging them as essential participants in achieving the ASD vide their own goals and objectives will connect them to the process, and build loyalty in their support of the ground handling? airport. Can this function be in-sourced and provided at a How are a facility and its costs assessed? cheaper cost to The air service available at an airport is not the only factor on which airlines and passen- the airlines? gers form their opinions. The airport's physical characteristics--on both the airside and the groundside--can also be critical determinants of whether carriers serve there, and whether An airport's physi- passengers come. Construction projects, travel time, traffic congestion, public transport ease and cal characteristics-- availability, and general perception of the passenger experience all influence those decisions. on both the airside and groundside-- Airport Fees can be critical Landing fees, ground rental rates, and other handling fees reflect the cost of operating the overall facility. These rates lie within the airport's span of control and can be used as a means of determinants of negotiation with airport users, both public and private. It is important to establish a landing fee whether carriers structure that is fair, equitable, and transparent to the user community. When establishing the serve there, and fee structure, the mix of operations between scheduled and nonscheduled flights (both passen- ger and cargo), as well private and military aircraft that may utilize the airport should be consid- whether passen- ered. Some carriers have traditionally been especially sensitive to these costs, and all carriers are gers will come.

OCR for page 63
66 Passenger Air Service Development Techniques concerned about them now in light of the overall financial condition of the industry. It is impor- tant to provide the facilities that the resident airline operators desire and are willing to pay for. Expensive work projects at the airport that are not supported by the resident airlines lead to increased fees and may be resented or challenged by those airlines. An airport's fees must be competitive with peer airports in the region. If an airport is able to provide lower fees than competing airports, it may create a competitive advantage in attracting new air service to the airport. Carriers may also be sensitive to ground handling costs. In smaller markets with limited flight frequency, ground handling costs can seem relatively high on a unit basis. Sometimes airlines insist on providing their own ground handling, and if this is the case, then it is important to respect their wishes. However, this is a cost with which the airport can assist a potential new airline. Non-aeronautical revenue can have a substantial impact on the bottom line of an airport oper- ating budget and therefore on the rates and charges to airlines. This revenue can come from concessionary/vending fees, garage/lot parking, rental car fees, and revenues from other busi- nesses located on the airport property, such as a business park. Airports should Prior to visiting an airline's headquarters to pitch a new service from the airport, the ASD team carefully consider should have a clear understanding of the real costs that the airline will incur in providing that what steps can be service. The cost of doing business in the airline industry has increased substantially in recent taken to reduce years. These business costs represent real costs that the operating airline cannot avoid and must incur. The ASD team should carefully consider what steps might be taken to reduce the airline's airlines' cost of cost of doing business at its airport by identifying the cost factors that are within its control ver- doing business sus those that are controlled by the airline. there. Infrastructure Constraints Airport constraints include the physical and geographic obstructions that may impact opera- tions at the airport. An airport located in a mountain valley must contend with the mountain obstructions for flight take-off and landing procedures. Airports with relatively short runways will not be able to handle operations other than turboprops. Noise abatement initiatives by local authorities can also influence airport operations. Older airports located in dense population areas are often constrained by the urban sprawl surrounding them and are limited in their phys- ical growth potential. Consider: Are there any Runways obstructions that The number and lengths of the runways have an obvious and major impact on the volume require special and nature of aircraft operations at the airport. Larger aircraft require larger runways. Runway alignment relative to prevailing wind patterns also influences operations. Dual parallel runways pilot procedures? are a unique asset that can substantially increase flight capacity and reduce delays, but this lux- Noise abatement ury is usually not found at smaller airports. procedures? Smaller communities may often face the situation of having relatively short runways. FAA and Power-back? aircraft manufacturers provide considerable technical guidance on minimum runway length Parallel runways? requirements for different types of aircraft. Obviously, it is critical that airports understand the Parallel take-offs/ effective operating lengths of their runways and what that may mean for an ASD effort. landings? Infrastructure Does the commu- The available infrastructure at the airport will dictate the level of flight and passenger activity nity support that the facility can accommodate. The number of gates, the amount of tarmac space, the square airport expansion? footage of the terminal building, and a number of other factors influence passenger throughput.