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CHAPTER 7 Establishing and Validating ASD Goals Defining goals--exactly what type of air service improvements a community is seeking--is the heart of an ASD program. Ensuring that those goals are realistic is vital to actually achieving them. This chapter discusses the major types of ASD goals and the conditions under which they might be appropriate for a specific airport. It also provides techniques for validating goals through an objective reality check. What is the overall process for identifying goals? Air service goals must be developed within the context of how the industry is performing and its emerging trends, as discussed in Part I of this guidebook. Considerations include changes to airline business models, external factors that affect carriers' costs, and regulatory changes that may affect ways in which air carriers can expand. Understanding the aviation industry is essen- tial not only for establishing goals, but also for prioritizing actions as shorter term or longer term. The community The community should be an integral part of developing ASD goals. The ASD team's role is to effectively communicate the market assessment and industry knowledge to the community as should be an inte- context for the goal-setting process. When the community is appropriately informed and gral part of develop- involved, their input is more valuable and their ASD expectations are more realistic. As discussed ing ASD goals. in Chapter 6, the best way to involve the community in ASD is to work with key stakeholders on a regular basis. Pursuing ASD goals should always begin with an airport's incumbent carriers. Incumbent carriers have a good understanding of the community's traffic patterns and are a first line of opportunity for adding new service--whether more frequencies, larger aircraft, or most commonly, service to a new point or connecting hub. However, service from incumbent air carriers--whether a mainline network carrier, an LCC, a regional affiliate of a network carrier, or a low-fare niche carrier--can be a double-edged sword for ASD efforts. The service is a great marketing tool for the airport if it is heavily used and the carrier has expanded service over the years. However, the service also could be relatively unchanged over time. Pursuing new air service with incumbent carriers can be difficult at times, particularly because a small airport's ultimate goal is to expand its frequency and pricing options. Usually incumbent carriers at small airports have been sustainable over time due to loyalty, attractive flight schedules, and connectivity to hubs (and beyond destinations) that are of interest to the community. If the incumbent carrier is unwilling to expand at the airport or does not serve the target des- tination, then the community will need to pursue a new carrier. Adding service may be appeal- ing for additional network carriers who have hub structures because a new connection from the airport may introduce new connections and shorter itineraries to an array of destinations. If an 82