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CHAPTER 4 ENVIRONMENT AND RESOURCES 4.1 Step 2--SWOT Analysis and Resource Assessment 4.2 SWOT Analysis 4.3 Resource Assessment 4.4 Conclusions 4.1 STEP 2--SWOT ANALYSIS AND RESOURCE ASSESSMENT Chapter 3 outlined the initial steps for identifying important marketing issues for the airport. This chapter outlines the steps to dig deeper and clarify the airport's strengths and weaknesses, as well as the resources available (people and money) to help market the airport. Step 1 Goals/Objectives Step 2 SWOT Resources Step 3 Redefine Goals/Objectives Source: GMH Consulting, LLC An airport SWOT analysis and resource assessment (referred to collectively as a self-assessment) is critical to formulating an effective and focused marketing plan. With this analysis, it will be easier to (1) focus the goals of the marketing plan, (2) strengthen the airport's identity, (3) clarify the messages that the airport will convey, and (4) and construct a marketing program within a framework of available resources. Airports that do not have a current marketing plan will find this chapter helpful. Airports that already have a mar- keting plan may want to skim this chapter. For those readers interested in a detailed approach to self-assessment (including useful worksheets), please refer to Chapter 13. 4.2 SWOT ANALYSIS The most important analysis underlying any airport marketing plan is the SWOT analysis, an assessment of the airport's strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities. Conducting a SWOT analysis is necessary because the results of the analysis show the paths forward for the airport that are realistic versus those that are not. The four categories of information collected in a SWOT analysis are described in Exhibit 4.1. 22
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Environment and Resources 23 Exhibit 4.1--Diagram of a SWOT Analysis. Weaknesses Strengths The weaknesses the airport The strengths the airport wants wants to remedy or exit to maintain, build on, and leverage Goals of the SWOT Analysis Opportunities Threats The opportunities the airport The threats the airport wants to prioritize and optimize wants to address Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc. Multiple sources of information, both from self assessments and from external sources, may be used to com- plete the SWOT analysis. What is important is not the source of the information but that the airport obtains an honest and accurate picture of its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. One source of information used in the SWOT analysis is customer reviews. There are many ways to get cus- tomer feedback: postcard or Internet surveys; comment blogs or surveys on the airport website; comment cards in the terminal or at the FBO. For tenants, simple surveys or a tenant event such as a meeting, happy hour, or tenant appreciation day, are excellent ways to get feedback for SWOT analysis. Exhibit 4.2 is a set of prompts to engage your customers in how the airport is used and perceived. Exhibit 4.2--Topic Prompts for Customer Reviews. VISITORS, PASSENGERS, AND PILOTS · We use the airport for . . . · These services are well priced . . . · These services are too expensive . . . · The most convenient aspects of the airport are . . . · The least convenient aspects of the airport are . . . · Would you recommend the airport to others? · Was it easy to find the airport? · Aircraft/car parking was . . . · General cleanliness of the terminal was . . . · Your encounter with airport staff was . . . · I will remember the airport for . . .
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24 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports TENANTS · The most important airport improvement is . . . · We chose to lease at this airport because . . . · Other businesses that may be interested in this airport are . . . · Our customers like this airport because . . . Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc. One of the primary purposes of completing a SWOT analysis is to enable the airport to determine how it compares to its peers and the competition. What unique advantages does the airport have that it can take advantage of to attract passengers, pilots, businesses, or other tenants? In general, for commercial service airports, the following information is useful to compare with competitors: · Air service offered: destinations, carriers, frequency, aircraft type · Business and leisure air fares in the airport's top markets · History of air service at nearby airports · Runway lengths and navigational aids available · Rates of diversion to competing airports A competitor analysis of a very small commercial service airport to a very large commercial service airport is not always useful. For example, comparing Dubois Regional Airport to nearby Pittsburgh International Airport would be of limited value. On the other hand, Orlando Sanford Airport skillfully carved out a leisure market niche by understanding the opportunities presented by destination traffic bound for the Greater Orlando area, even though at one time all air service occurred at Orlando International Airport. For general aviation airports, the comparative metrics are different. General aviation airports have a diverse customer base, so a competitor analysis must focus on a particular target customer such as aircraft owners, pilots, FBOs, or other airport tenants. For aircraft owners, fractional owners, or pilots, a competitor analysis would look at the following: · Suitability of airfield for a particular aircraft · Proximity to home or work · Availability and cost of hangars or tie downs · Level of service available--fueling, aircraft maintenance, etc. · Local tax structure and aircraft registration fees versus nearby states · Atmosphere and culture · Navigational aids (including presence of a control tower) · Possibilities for self-fueling For airport tenants, the analysis would compare the following: · Availability and cost of improved or unimproved land · Airport minimum standards · Other synergistic activities on or near the airport · Airport's access to highways or trains · Incentive packages offered by competing airports
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Environment and Resources 25 4.2.1 SUGGESTIONS AND EXAMPLES FOR YOUR SWOT Exhibit 4.3 provides a list of possible responses to the SWOT analysis that may give you ideas for your airport. In addition, two airport examples of SWOT analyses are also presented. One is a summary table from the Greeley-Weld County Airport SWOT analysis that the students completed as part of their project to make a marketing plan for the airport. The other example summarizes SWOT findings for Arnold Palmer Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Exhibit 4.3--Ideas for Possible SWOT Responses. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES · Strong demand for business travel · Airport located less than 1 hour from a · Population growth in the region and larger airport community · Airport has low visibility with passengers · Strong presence of corporate jet and potential users activity · Multi-county governance complicates · Community actively supports airport decision making · Local college uses airport for aviation · Airfield in need of repair programs · Business planning and marketing funds · Existing military logistics center are scarce · Good location for specialized training · Airport noise and truck traffic controversial in . . . in community · Excellent airfield and/or terminal · Airport rates and charges inconsistently facilities applied · Available hangar space · FBO not responsive to existing customer · 24-hour duty officer base · No air service OPPORTUNITIES THREATS · Additional frequencies or new air service destinations · More air service at alternate airports · Development/expansion of industrial · High air fares non-competitive or office park next to airport · Current air service unreliable · Joint marketing with other economic · Vocal opponents to the airport development groups · Encroachment of development near · Contract tower airport · Increased fuel sales · Insufficient funding to maintain and · Additional itinerant traffic enhance airport · Training facilities at airport · New technology to increase capacity Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc. SWOT FOR GREELEY-WELD COUNTY AIRPORT Chapter 2 began with an overview of Greeley-Weld County Airport and how the airport engaged students from the Metro State to develop a marketing plan. The students spent 5 months on the plan. One of their first tasks was a SWOT analysis. They interviewed airport staff, tenants, and stakeholders to better understand the actual and perceived strengths and weaknesses of the airport along with the potential opportunities and threats.
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26 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports Greeley-Weld County Airport has two major competitors: Fort Collins-Loveland Airport and Front Range Airport. Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport is located approximately 20 miles west of the Greeley-Weld County Airport and is considered the most direct competition. Over the past several years, both airports have competed for the same business, both new and existing. In several instances, tenants located at one airport have relo- cated to the other, and vice versa. Also, with the closing of the Fort Collins Downtown Airport, many businesses and aircraft owners chose between the two airports for relocation. Front Range Airport is located approximately 45 miles south of the Greeley-Weld County Airport, and just south- east of the Denver International Airport (DIA). Front Range Airport is comparable in size, operations, and ser- vices to the Greeley-Weld County Airport, and in the past, has directly competed with it for business. Adams County in recent years has offered economic incentives to companies willing to locate at the Front Range Airport. Those incentives, along with its proximity to the Denver metro area, have made that airport attractive to investors looking to develop facilities. However, Front Range Airport is very close to DIA, and thus, is sub- ject to airspace and flight restrictions imposed by DIA. The Greeley-Weld County Airport is not subject to the same air space restrictions as Front Range Airport. The runway is also longer than the runway at Fort Collins-Loveland Municipal Airport, allowing for the operation of larger aircraft, particularly in summer months. Based on this background, a summary of the Greeley-Weld County Airport SWOT analysis is shown in Exhibit 4.4. Exhibit 4.4--Greeley-Weld County Airport, Colorado SWOT Analysis. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES · Airport infrastructure: runway length · Airport infrastructure: access road issues, (10,000 ft), ILS, available land for utility infrastructure on east side, lack of development, outstanding fly in restaurant, air traffic control tower. great terminal/administration building, · Airport facilities: limited vehicle parking, 40 hangars with 200 aircraft capacity. public entryway appearance. · Operations: aircraft rescue & firefighting · Aviation services: limited. capability, snow removal fleet, 5th · Policies and practices: differing goals busiest airport in CO, great weather. between tenants and board, control of · Other: good location north of Denver encroachment, unpredictability of future metro area, not landlocked. funding. · Excellent website. · Marketing and promotion: work with FBO to partner in marketing. OPPORTUNITIES THREATS · Development opportunities: Weld County is the second fastest growing county in the · Competition from other area airports. nation, availability of additional land around · Population growth to the west in Windsor, airport for development. closer to Fort Collins-Loveland Airport and · Funding: availability of federal and away from Greeley-Weld County Airport. state grants, in an enterprise zone. · Insufficient future funding to build needed · Development of air traffic control tower. infrastructure, develop east side and · Compete for area aviation business. construct air traffic control tower. · Aviation Industry: market to military for · National security issues pertaining to training, emerging very light jet market. aviation. · Community programs: Greeley Stampede, community branding. · Affiliation with local educational institutions and local college programs. (continued)
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Environment and Resources 27 CONCLUSIONS · Work with State of Colorado and City of Greeley to improve access road and signage to the airport. · Continue to advertise at National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) and dispatcher conventions. · Direct advertising back to website. · Make air traffic control tower a high funding priority to pursue through state and federal programs. · Plan and launch volunteer campaign to improve appearance of airport entry. Source: Greeley-Weld County Airport, Marketing Plan 2007 SWOT FOR ARNOLD PALMER AIRPORT, LATROBE, PENNSYLVANIA Arnold Palmer Airport in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, is located approximately 60 miles from Pittsburgh. At its peak, Latrobe had nine nonstop flights per day to Pittsburgh on US Airways Express. When US Airways went through bankruptcy (twice) from 20022005, it dramatically reduced operations at its Pittsburgh hub. In May 2004, Latrobe lost all commercial service. In addition, due to its close proximity to Pittsburgh, it did not qualify as an Essential Air Service city. Thus, it could not look to the government for subsidized support for air service, but rather, had to rely on its own resources. In the case of Arnold Palmer Airport, the major threat was the scale of air service offered at nearby Pittsburgh International. In terms of opportunities, however, it turns out that because of Delta/Northwest's large Detroit hub, many Latrobe travelers to international destinations could connect more conveniently by flying from Latrobe to Detroit and connecting directly to international flights than by driving to Pittsburgh and flying to US Airways' international hub at Philadelphia. Fortunately, the community had strong business travel demand from local companies, including Kennametal, a $2 billion company headquartered in Latrobe with facilities across the globe. Sony, Timken, and Alcoa are also located in Latrobe. The community had strong local marketing support from the airport and other local busi- ness leaders who helped the community secure service from Northwest Airlines to its Detroit hub. A simplified SWOT analysis for Latrobe is summarized in Exhibit 4.5. Exhibit 4.5--Arnold Palmer Airport SWOT Analysis. STRENGTHS WEAKNESSES · Strong business travel demand. · Within driving distance of much larger · Strong community willingness to invest airport--Pittsburgh. in projects that make sense. · Limited market size. · Conveniently located and friendly local · Community knowledge of what it would airport. take to make the new service successful. (continued)
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28 Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports OPPORTUNITIES THREATS · A new carrier could attract a large · Any Latrobe service must compete against share of high fare business passengers more frequent service offered at Pittsburgh. at Latrobe, including some flying to · Poor or irregular service at Latrobe would Asia and Europe, which that carrier quickly result in passengers abandoning would not attract if it operated at the service to drive to Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh, where US Airways remained the largest carrier. CONCLUSIONS · A high level of customer service is important. · The business traveler should be the focus. Source: Oliver Wyman 4.2.2 SUMMARIZING YOUR SWOT FINDINGS Have the planning team rank responses for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats from most impor- tant to least important. Every airport will have different answers. The SWOT analysis is a top view, so first impressions are the most important. The goal is to be able to complete the statements suggested in Exhibit 4.6. Exhibit 4.6--SWOT Summary Worksheet. 1) The airport's key strengths are: ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ 2) The airport's best opportunities are: ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ 3) The airport has weaknesses/needs to improve in these areas: ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ 4) The airport should monitor and/or address the following threats to its competitive position or sustainability: ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ Source: KRAMER aerotek, inc.