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OCR for page 13
14 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry nization's historical performance, which can generally be used to predict how future risks and uncertainties could affect the organization's future performance. 2.3 The Key Benefits of Strategic Planning The feedback received by the research team from airport executives and aviation industry pro- fessionals through three focus group sessions indicates that a variety of benefits are achieved from engaging in the strategic planning process. These benefits range from increased efficiency result- ing from the establishment of airport performance metrics to gaining stakeholder buy-in for the management team or board of directors' vision for the airport. Corporate strategic planning activities tend to be more quantitatively focused and are directed toward modification of the organization's internal and external environment through asset acqui- sition and disposal, market share, and growth. Public sector (e.g., airports) strategic planning activ- ities tend to be more qualitatively focused and are directed toward improving internal operating efficiency, setting and achieving objectives, and financial performance. Several strategic planning benefits were specifically mentioned by participants in each of the three focus groups: the Large Hub/Gateway International Airports Focus Group; the Medium Hub, Small Hub, and Non-Hub Airports Focus Group; and the Corporate/General Aviation Airports Focus Group. Exhibit 2-6 shows these benefits and groups them into four categories: organizational ben- efits, operational/managerial benefits, community/stakeholder benefits, and economic benefits. Organizational benefits of strategic planning mentioned by the focus groups were the following: Codifying a set of minimum standards or guiding policies that will be supported by the gov- erning body of the airport Bringing order and a long-term focus to a chaotic business Allowing management to tie performance evaluations at all organizational levels to a common set of strategic objectives Providing an important motivational tool to enable employees at all organizational levels and in all departments to understand the mission and vision of the organization Operational/managerial benefits of strategic planning mentioned by the focus groups were the following: Facilitating the development of metrics to help measure airport performance, leading to increased efficiency Creating a blueprint for prioritizing the projects that should move forward Enabling airport management to examine, in a more comprehensive manner, bold initiatives, strategies, and alternatives more easily than during the master planning process Community/stakeholder benefits of strategic planning mentioned by the focus groups were the following: Helping to diffuse tensions between an airport's public policy priorities and tenants' economic development priorities (e.g., an increase in rates and charges to offset the costs associated with construction of a new passenger terminal or automobile parking garage) Helping to build community support and explain to elected officials how the airport con- tributes to the community's economic development Being a tool for soliciting input and buy-in from stakeholders on a particular course of development Preventing future conflicts by building consensus for a future action that needs to be initiated at the present time (e.g., the acquisition of land parcels that will allow for the long-term devel- opment of airport facilities)

OCR for page 13
What Is Strategic Planning? 15 Enables Airport Management to Examine Bold Initiatives, Strategies, and Alternatives Facilitates Decision Making Creates a Blueprint for Prioritizing Projects Provides Airport Blueprint and Helps Communicate Guiding Policies Mission and Goals Brings Order to the Helps Obtain Stakeholder Organization and a Buy-In on Specific Development and Other Airport Long-term Focus BENEFITS OF Improvement Initiatives STRATEGIC PLANNING IN THE Assists in the Creation AIRPORT INDUSTRY Helps Nurture of Performance Metrics Community Support Integrates Performance Evaluations with a Builds Common Set of Objectives Consensus Helps Maintain Leads to Efficiency Financial Stability Helps Diffuse Tensions Between Entities with Different Set of Priorities Organizational Benefits Operational/Managerial Benefits Community/Stakeholder Benefits Economic Benefits Exhibit 2-6. Key benefits of strategic planning in the airport industry.