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CHAPTER 6 Scanning the Environment and Predicting Developments This chapter is divided into three main sections that present each of the elements of an environ- Creating a Process Plan and Road Map mental scan (also referred to as a situational analysis) that will help the organization predict future (Chapter 3) developments. Section 6.1, "Internal Assessment" will help the planning team identify the internal strengths and weaknesses of their organization. Section 6.2, "External Environment Scan," focuses Evaluating and on the opportunities and threats presented by changes in the external environment (e.g., macro- Understanding the economic factors), the structure of the airport industry, and the airport's operating environment. Organization The process for conducting these assessments is generally referred to as a SWOT analysis because (Chapter 4) it involves a review of an organization's internal strengths (S), weaknesses (W), external opportu- nities (O), and threats (T). Section 6.3, "Tools to Assess the Future of the Organization and For- Defining and Articulating the Organization's Mission, mulate Strategies," provides a summary of the tools available to assess the future of the organization Vision, and Values and potential uncertainties that may positively or negatively affect its operations. (Chapter 5) According to the online survey respondents, the top sources of uncertainty that are consid- Scanning the Environment ered in an airport strategic plan are the airline industry in general (e.g., airline mergers, bank- and Predicting ruptcies, and hub restructuring), the national and local economy, the size and complexity of Developments (Chapter 6) airport development projects, organizational resources (personnel), and unfunded mandates pertaining to airport security or safety. As noted by the respondents to the survey, other unique Identifying Strategic Issues, sources of future uncertainty faced by airport organizations include the retirement of key lead- Strategies, and Long-Term ership, fuel prices, environmental over-regulation, the effects of the economic downturn on Objectives tourism, airline de-hubbing, demand variability, and airline changes to network capacity. (Chapter 7) The strategic assessment of an airport environment is not simply an evaluation of existing facili- Formulating ties, but a macro-level overview of the airport as a whole, including its business and environmental Short-Term Objectives and characteristics. When conducting the external environment scan, airport organizations should eval- Creating Action Plans (Chapter 8) uate the performance of their competitors and peers and also scan the industry and the environment for changes in the economy, technology, and society as a whole. This chapter reviews the key steps required to review best practices at other airports, including benchmarking, and to conduct an envi- Writing, Communicating, and Executing the Plan ronmental scan, which is completed by means of a thorough review of the external opportunities (Chapter 9) and threats that might promote or hinder pursuit of the organization's mission and vision. Although the scan of the environment is one of the most detailed and time-consuming phases Monitoring, Evaluating, and of the strategic planning process, the outcomes of this scan/analysis are extremely important. Modifying the Plan The purpose of the environment scan is to determine the degree to which the organization's (Chapter 10) vision is realistic based on a review of internal and external factors that are affecting or will be likely to affect the organization. According to the online survey results, the CEO (or equivalent) and airport department leaders are mainly responsible for assessing potential sources of future uncertainty. Thus, the planning team should complete the situational analysis, and department leaders and employees should be involved in collecting and analyzing the data to enhance their understanding of the organization. 62