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CHAPTER 1 Introduction ACRP Report 20: Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry (hereafter referred to as the Guide- book) guides readers through a step-by-step process for developing a strategic approach to air- port planning. The Guidebook provides information, tools, and techniques that can be used by airport professionals, airport policymakers, and related industry associations to develop or understand strategic plans that guide airport-related decisions and actions. The key content of the Guidebook is set forth in Exhibit 1-1. This Guidebook is based on the knowledge, expertise, opinions, and recommendations of air- port executives and other airport industry professionals gained through focus group discussions, an online survey, one-on-one interviews, and workshops. As with other subject areas, the body of knowledge regarding strategic planning rests with the practitioners who apply and advance it. The Guidebook includes proven traditional techniques and tools that have been effectively applied by some airport executives, as well as innovative practices that are emerging in the air- port and other industries. For example, the Guidebook addresses the concepts of strategic agility and acuity, which define how an organization can remain strategically adaptable to an ever- changing environment and, to the extent possible, be proactive in identifying opportunities, unforeseen events, and changing conditions. The Guidebook also draws on a number of articles, reports, research efforts, books, and studies that address strategic planning and/or airport planning. 1.1 Purpose of the Guidebook The primary purpose of this Guidebook is to provide a comprehensive, user-friendly manage- ment tool that can be used by airport professionals, airport policymakers, and related industry associations to implement or understand the strategic planning process leading to the develop- ment of an airport strategic plan. Nearly three-quarters of respondents to the online survey con- ducted as part of the research for this Guidebook viewed the development of a strategic plan as "a necessity" for their airport organization. The Guidebook sets forth a common process and key considerations for applying strategic planning in an airport setting. 1.1.1 Historical Context for the Guidebook The perspectives, priorities, and strategic planning techniques contained in the Guidebook are a reflection of the U.S. airport industry as it exists at the time of this research effort (2007 to 2009)--an environment in which airports are independent of national control and are typically owned and operated by local municipalities or regional/state authorities. However, other North 3

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4 Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry ACRP Report 20: Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry Provides Information about: Best Practices For conducting the strategic planning process and assessing the organization's internal resources and external situation. Includes best practices from corporations, nonprofit organizations, and public entities. Benchmarking Practices Used in the airport and other industries. Presents recommendations for obtaining meaningful benchmarking comparisons with other airports. Includes: Sample Tools and Techniques For assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT); creating a Balanced Scorecard; etc. Integrates: Online Survey Findings Into each Guidebook section. Outlines: The Definition of Strategic Defines strategic planning. Planning The Strategic Planning Defines the framework for Framework strategic planning in an airport setting. The Key Benefits of Strategic Highlights the benefits of strategic Planning planning. The Airport Planning Process Provides a comparative analysis of the procedural similarities and differences between airport strategic planning and other forms of airport planning. Exhibit 1-1. ACRP Report 20: Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry--key content. American airports with operational structures similar to those airports in the United States, such as Vancouver International Airport in Canada, are also represented in the Guidebook. 1.1.2 Intended Audience for the Guidebook The Guidebook is intended to present the airport strategic planning process, related context, and facilitating tools and techniques to a variety of readers. In preparing the Guidebook, every effort was made to present the material in a simple and easy-to-follow style, while focusing on important and sometimes complex elements of the strategic planning process that are commonly overlooked in the day-to-day management of airports. The Guidebook provides a foundational reference for readers, who are expected to include, but not be limited to the following: Airport board members Airport directors Airport department leaders Airport employees Aviation industry associations Airport stakeholders Consultants and other specialists in strategic planning, airport planning, and related fields Educators in airport planning and related subjects Individuals facilitating strategic planning sessions