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78 Passenger Air Service Development Techniques · Ground handling companies, which could provide a certain amount of baggage, fuelling, or de-icing services · Hotels, which may be able to provide discounted rooms for crews How much do other airports devote to ASD? The study team asked airports how much they devoted annually to their ASD efforts, includ- ing contributions from non-airport sources. Of particular interest was the scale of resources that airports of various sizes committed to ASD efforts, and how much the private sector was contributing. As Table 6.2 shows, reflecting their considerable differences in air service activity and the amount of economic activity in the surrounding area, small hub airports were generally able to provide more airport-originating funds than non-hub airports for ASD efforts. Contri- butions from the private sector and the federal government tended to be greater for non- hub airports. What types of human resources are needed for successful ASD efforts? Having access to knowledgeable and talented human resources is critical to being able to keep existing air service and attract new service. These are the people that deal with the airlines and the public on a day-to-day basis and thus understand what both constituencies need to make the airport work for them. Many smaller airports have some in-house staff with the background and expertise needed for ASD programs, but many more do not. The surveyed airports relied on both in-house staff and local professionals to manage their ASD efforts. Most employed ASD consultants to provide the sort of analytic expertise and assistance that the airports do not have available. Figure 6.1 summarizes the results from that survey. Table 6.2. Median amount of resources applied to ASD, by hub size and category of assistance. Category of ASD Resources Hub size Airport "Core" Airport "Extra" Private Sector Federal 1 2 Resources Resources Contributions Contributions Non-hubs $53,000 $100,000 $350,000 $500,000 Small hubs $125,000 $125,000 $250,000 $480,000 All hubs $70,500 $100,000 $325,000 $500,000 1 "Core" resources are financial resources devoted to ASD-related salaries, data costs, and other expenses normally associated with basic ASD, such as conference attendance and travel costs to visit airline headquarters. 2 "Extra" resources are those affiliated with particular types of incentive programs, such as minimum revenue guarantees, subsidies (e.g., fee waivers), and marketing efforts, particularly where airport funds are used to match non-airport funds. Note: The numbers are not additive. For example, not all airports received federal assistance, and not all applied resources to "extra" ASD efforts. Thus, one should not add the numbers across and suggest that the median amount of resources applied to ASD by all hubs in the survey to be $995,500. Source: InterVISTAS survey of airports conducted in the fall and winter, 2007-2008.
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Identifying Available Resources to Enhance Air Service 79 Airport staff Consultants Other Mayor or local gov't official Marketing professional 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100% Figure 6.1. Percentage of ASD teams with in-house staff and other professionals. Staff Expertise Most airports have staff members who have a great deal of experience in the primary job func- tions necessary to attract new air service: · Marketing personnel can help an airport understand which travelers are already using its facility and how to convince those who aren't doing so to reconsider their travel habits. · Public relations personnel are crucial to helping an airport get its message out to its current and potential travelers as well as to its key stakeholders--local or regional government, air- lines, travelers, and its employees. · Airport operations personnel--such as police, fire, and airfield maintenance teams--are vital to the smooth running of the airport itself, which is fundamental to many carriers' interests in launching new service at a community. · Accounting personnel are necessary for an airport to understand its revenue-generating capa- bilities as well as the costs associated with its continued operation--figures that potential new entrant airlines will want to understand. · ASD professionals would coordinate the talents available at the airport, help organize the community in support of air service, and conduct the analyses that are critical to convincing an airline to continue its operations or begin service. However, most small community air- ports do not have staff with this expertise available in-house. Outside Resources Small airports don't have to do the work of attracting new air service alone. There are many ways for them to expand their ASD teams to take advantage of the unique capabilities of non- airport people and organizations with specialized expertise. These people and organizations have different talents that are not often available among airport personnel.
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80 Passenger Air Service Development Techniques ASD Consultants Air service consulting firms exist to bring new air service to their client communities and air- ports. They are staffed with experienced professionals with vast aviation industry knowledge and numerous industry contacts. They also have the technical expertise in route traffic and financial forecasting and in developing presentations that communities can give to airlines. Most consultants Virtually all ASD consultants have worked for at least one (and often several) airline, airport, trade association, or manufacturer at some point in their career. Thus, they have first-hand, have professional inside knowledge about how the industry looks at market possibilities. They generally under- experience with an stand what is required to attract the attention of a target airline and what the airline wants to see airline, airport, in a presentation by a community or airport. trade association, Consultants can also help assemble, analyze, and package information about the local market-- data that the airlines generally do not gather themselves. Information about local economic or manufacturer. conditions can be important in an airline's decision-making process because it gives insights into They will have a community's underlying economic strength. inside knowledge Consultants also bring unique skills and expertise to ASD issues: on how the · Domestic and foreign airline industry contacts. The universe of people who deal with ASD industry looks at issues for airlines and airports is relatively small. ASD consultants who have progressed through the aviation industry during their careers have developed contacts through profes- market possibilities. sional interactions. These contacts can include staff who handle route/network-planning responsibilities at various airlines. Such contacts ease the process of arranging meetings and can improve the communication between airports and airlines. · Understanding of the data. Understanding the data is one of the most important requirements for an ASD consultant because it provides the basic foundation of a traffic and financial forecast that is presented to an airline. Consultants are experts at working with traffic, yield, operations, and financial data; information from myriad industry databases; and company financial reports. · Forecasts accepted by airlines. The experience gained by ASD consultants throughout the course of their careers gives them a broad understanding of the type of information desired by airlines when considering new service at a community. This is reflected in the consultant's previous success in helping attract new service on behalf of other airports. Local Professionals Local professionals usually have a keen understanding of the most important characteristics of and changes in a community. This insight is often the type that airlines cannot obtain simply by looking at data that they have immediately available to them. Local professionals can also pro- vide some specialized services in or oriented to the local market that the ASD consultants might not be equipped to provide, such as local media, marketing, and public relations. Focused Airport Support Task Force ASD task forces are able to bring together individuals, corporations, and other organizations that have an interest in keeping a community's existing air service and attracting new air ser- vice. It can help to convince an airline that the local community truly supports their airport's efforts to attract new air service. These task force members usually come from a wide variety of local organizations: · Major local corporations usually generate higher-yield travel and have travel patterns that can help to determine needed routes. · City/county economic development authorities help to generate new local businesses and inbound travel.