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240 Icons are defined in Figure 1 in Section 1.1. Communication is integral to the success of the airport as an organization. Airport managers must communicate with governmental entities, customers, tenants, regulatory agents, commis- sions, boards, media and the general public. A positive perception of the airport in the com- munity is extremely valuable. Airports must do this through educating the public on the value of the airport to the community. This section provides more detailed information on how a small airport manager can understand and improve community relations, cultivate the airportâs brand, develop marketing plans, utilize communication tools, understand and communicate the airportâs economic impact and communicate during emergency situations. 6.1 Community Relations Key Insights Public relations is vital to the success of any small airport. An airport manager should implement a variety of public relations strategies aimed at maintaining a positive perception of the facility and building community relations. Maintaining a presence in the community is a key aspect of the airport managerâs job. It is essential for the airport to be proactive and transparent in all its transactions and communications. An airport can communicate its successes even without the need to carry a marketing budget. A marketing plan can help guide a positive local image and promote effective communications in the community and with all airport stakeholders. Key Definitions Crisis communication: The ability to protect the reputation of the airport through a plan that provides timely and accurate information to passengers, stakeholders, the community and the media. Press kit: Contains information and photographs about the airport and is used to submit publicity materials to the media for consideration. Stakeholder: A person, group or organization that has interests or concerns in the airport and can affect or be affected by the airportâs actions, objectives and policies; examples are employees, tenants, first responders and airport traffic control tower personnel. C H A P T E R 6 CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community
CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community 241 Overview Many people and communities are unaware of the numerous benefits an airport brings to a region. Small airport managers must work closely and have an active partnership with their communities. It is part of many small airport managersâ jobs to educate a wide variety of stakeholders and local public officials on the value of the airport, and this should be done daily. Communication is the building block for working with and educating the community. A positive relationship with stakeholder groups is crucial to the viability of your airport and its link to the air transportation system. The more you communicate its benefits and organizational progress toward goals, the more people will understand what an essential asset the airport is to the community. Forging relationships with officials, business leaders and news media can help your airport if and when a controversy arises. Stakeholder Engagement and Relationships Airports have many stakeholders who have daily impacts on the airport or who are affected by decisions made by airport operators, such as the following: â¢ Airport users/customers â¢ Airport tenants â¢ Airport board and advisory committee â¢ Airport neighbors and general public â¢ Economic stakeholders â¢ Elected officials and policymakers â¢ Service providers Each stakeholder is important and needs individual interactions with and messages from the airport. Airports must understand each stakeholder group and form partnerships with each group. Issues that may require building stakeholder relationships include cus- tomer service, airport development, airport operations, construction projects affecting stakeholders, airport master planning or strategic business planning, economic development goals, environmental impacts and changes to airport leases or standards. Each of these issues may require different approaches with various stakeholder groups. Several key interpersonal skills will help build more successful relationships with stakeholders. Using these skills can be just as important as technical knowledge when working with airport stakeholders. Stakeholder Engagement Attributes ACRP Synthesis 65: Practices to Develop Effective Stakeholder Relationships at Smaller Airports describes effective practices, tools, communication techniques, feedback loops and case examples that highlight how leaders at smaller airports proactively manage stakeholder relationships. ACRP Synthesis 65, Chapter 4: Case Examples, details what has been successful for other airports and provides insights on what may be effective in your community when working with various stakeholders. The key to good relationships with stakeholders is proactive development of the relation- ships based on open communication, trust and transparency. If a relationship is poor, the first step to improve that relationship is to build trust. By demonstrating a willingness to address the immediate concerns of the stakeholders, you are more likely to build a relationship of trust that KEY INTERPERSONAL SKILLS â¢ Listen/be empatheticâLearn from stakeholders and understand where they are coming from. â¢ Be consistentâStick to key messages and be visible in the community. â¢ Be patient and persistentâFollow up frequently with stakeholder groups and tell your story often. â¢ Develop strong public speaking skillsâ Talk directly to people and make a connection. Be prepared, understand your content and practice your message. Develop these skills by doing them often.
242 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports will make it easier to work with this group and others in the future. Sustained and consistent efforts will also ensure the successful relationships continue. Appendix C of ACRP Synthesis 65 provides a checklist that highlights practices for you to use when assessing your readiness to undertake a stakeholder engagement process or pro- gram; strategizing, formulating and implementing such a process or program; and evaluating outcomes. This checklist was derived based on the models discussed in a literature review, practices discovered through the survey process and case examples that highlight successful stakeholder engagement efforts. Figure 15 shows the four main steps in the process for effective stakeholder engagement. This is a continuous process that does not stop after the first evaluation is complete. Resources/Tools In addition to ACRP Synthesis 65, several other resources discuss techniques and practices for stakeholder engagement and community relations when dealing with specific issues: â¢ Airport developmentâcapacity: ACRP Report 85: Developing and Maintaining Support for Your Airport Capacity Project, Chapter 4: Building and Maintaining Support with Stakeholders, provides strategies for working with various stakeholders, including supporters, opponents and bystanders. â¢ Environmental concernsâaircraft noise: ACRP Report 15: Aircraft Noise: A Toolkit for Managing Community Expectations provides guidance on how to improve communications with the public about issues related to aircraft noise exposure. An accompanying CD-based toolkit contains over 200 examples of noise and public participation documents. â¢ Airport preservation: ACRP Report 44: A Guidebook for the Preservation of Public-Use Air- ports, Chapter 4: Practical Management of 16 Primary Airport Closure Risk Factors, includes suggested roles to be employed by individuals and entities for stakeholder engagement and possible leadership and advocacy opportunities in the community. â¢ Airport protection: The AOPA website has several tools available to assist in advocating for your airport through actions such as community relations and establishing an airport support group. Source: Adapted from ACRP Synthesis 65: Practices to Develop Effective Stakeholder Relationships at Smaller Airports, Appendix C, 2015 Assess â¢Are you ready? (skills, time, urgency) â¢Why is a program needed? (issues, relationships, etc.) â¢Who are the stakeholders? â¢What are the goals? Strategize â¢Know issues to be addressed (environmental issue, support of business community, etc.) â¢Set up organization relationships â¢Identify tools (to inform, consult, involve, collaborate) Implement (Use Tools) â¢Inform: public hearings, speaking to groups, website, social media â¢Consult: focus groups, tenant meetings, surveys â¢Involve: chamber, tourism, nonprofit â¢Collaborate: advisory groups, town hall meetings, tenant appreciation days Evaluate â¢What worked well? â¢What could be done better? â¢Were the goals achieved? â¢What could be done differently? Figure 15. Stakeholder engagement process.
CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community 243 â¢ Airport planning: ACRP Report 20: Strategic Planning in the Airport Industry identifies which stakeholders should be considered in the strategic planning process and what level of involvement and type of participation each stakeholder group should have in the process. â¢ Airport leasing policies: ACRP Report 47: Guidebook for Developing and Leasing Airport Property discusses the importance of stakeholder engagement when developing airport leases and other policies. â¢ Engaging elected officials: National Business Aviation Associationâs Member Guide for Building a Relationship with Your Elected Officials is a guide that provides information on how to make a visit with elected officials a success, including a meeting checklist. â¢ Airport advocacy: National Business Aviation Associationâs Airport Advocate Guide provides the basic information you should be familiar with when advocating for your airport, such as how to quantify airport value and how to build relationships, and includes checklists for community-wide outreach and local area outreach. Guidance on how to develop media relations and several airport case studies are included. â¢ Community involvement: The FAA has a Community Involvement Manual that describes practices and effective techniques for community involvement. â¢ General aviation: â AOPA has a presentation, General Aviation: Connecting our Community to the World, available for small airports to use as an educational tool. â The October/November 2016 Airport Magazine article âIn Support of General Aviation, Many Ways to Advocate for This Industryâ by Tim OâKrongley describes how the San Antonio Airport System promotes Stinson Airport, the second-oldest continuously operating GA airport in the country â¢ Construction project: The 2016 Airport Improvement article âRedmond Municipal Uses Communication, Planning to Mitigate Regional Impact of 3-Week Closureâ by Ken Wysocky describes how the comprehensive communication program was a critical component of the successful runway reconstruction project. These resources also provide additional general insights on community and stakeholder relationships and approaches that could be adopted to any size airport or type of airport project.
244 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports 6.2 Branding Key Insights A brand encompasses (1) airport values and attitudes about customer service, (2) benefits and features of your airport and (3) qualities that are associated specifically with your airport. A brand is more than a logo, palette of colors and a tagline. It defines what your airport is and aspires to be. Key Definitions Brand: An airportâs identity that differentiates it from its competition. Branding: The process of creating a unique, positive and recognizable identity for an airport that attracts and retains customers. Do You Need a Brand? In the last few decades, more airports are making strategic decisions to be financially self- sufficient and to operate more like a business. This includes making the most of the airportâs brand. A brand can be defined as the perception clients have of a business. There are tangible elementsâsuch as a logo, slogans, imagery and messagingâand intangible elementsâsuch as the client experience and expectationsâto a brand. At its core, a brand is created by a continuity of client experiences. Finding out what clients think of your facility will guide you in the way you interact with them to enhance or change their perceptions. ACRP Report 28: Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports notes that an airport brand encom- passes airport values and attitude about customer service, benefits and features of your airport and qualities that are associated with your airport. Your brand must be consistent with your marketing messages. Social media has made branding and building a brand more important than ever. Increasingly people are using social media multiple times a day, which makes it a great way to build your brand. Consider which platforms (for example, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn) support your brand and then choose content images that support your brand. When branding or rebranding, remember to keep in mind that your airport most likely has an interesting history. This history should be celebrated, and brought forward in your branding program, even if you are contemplating a very modern look and feel to your brand. Assistance in Developing a Brand It can be difficult to understand how your airport is perceived from the outside. Often, paid marketing or public relations experts can develop a strong brand and a marketing program. They can also assist with conveying the brandâs message to the right target audience in a mean- ingful way. Means to convey your message can include brochures, advertising, billboards, your airportâs website and social media. If your airport does not have the funds available to pay a consultant to assist with brand development, consider volunteers or firms that may be willing to trade for in-kind advertising at the airport. The local college marketing or business program may also be willing to assist with brand development efforts.
CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community 245 6.3 Marketing Plans Key Insights A marketing plan is a key component of an airport business plan. Marketing plans help an airport communicate with customers (community, airport sponsor, key stakeholders, airlines, etc.). The marketing plan should be focused on driving business development in virtually every com- mercial aspect of your airport. If you have a private fixed-base operator at your airport, it is a best practice to incorporate its plans and cover its needs in an airport-wide marketing plan. Marketing plans can be developed by airport staff, a local university, an economic development organization or a consultant. Airport goals and objectives should be well defined before a marketing plan can be effectively developed and executed. Key Definitions Action plan: Describes the actions intended to achieve the stated goals and objectives. Marketing plan: A comprehensive document that describes an airportâs marketing activities in the upcoming fiscal year and beyond. Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis: An exercise that identi- fies an airportâs strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Purpose of an Airport Marketing Plan An airport marketing plan is the formal document that provides the framework and direction for an airportâs marketing activities. It is often a component of an airport business plan or strategic plan. It facilitates the gathering of relevant information to meet an airportâs goals and business objectives. It serves as the road map that converts marketing goals into specific activities. Every airportâs marketing plan should be unique and customized for each airportâs set of opportunities and challenges. ACRP Report 28: Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports is an excellent resource for airports on how to develop an airport-specific marketing plan. A market- ing plan should be updated regularly to reflect achievements and changes to the action plan. As noted in ACRP Report 28, an effective airport marketing plan is customer and service centered, differentiates itself from competitors, is easily communicated, is motivating and is flexible. Core Components of an Airport Marketing Plan ACRP Report 28 outlines the following four main components of an airport marketing plan: 1. Airportâs current position: This section will contain an overview of the services offered at the airport, major users and tenants, activity at the airports, competitive position in the region and a discussion on the trends that have the potential to affect the airport. 2. Airportâs goals and objectives: This component includes a discussion of the airportâs goals, target audience, message to be communicated and measurable objectives to achieve during the time frame.
246 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports 3. Action plan: The action plan includes a detailed description of the marketing activities that will be undertaken to achieve each objective. It should include a task description, assignments of people, schedules and budgets. 4. Management and monitoring: This section of the plan includes information on how to monitor the marketing campaign and progress against goals and update the marketing plan as needed. Seven Steps to Creating an Effective Marketing Plan Before an airport creates a marketing plan, a self-assessment is necessary. This can occur in the strategic or business planning process. Part 2 of ACRP Report 28 details the seven steps to prepare and implement a marketing plan, which are summarized in Figure 16. It also provides examples of goals, objectives and actions for an airport to consider when developing marketing plans for GA airports and small commercial service airports as well as case studies that highlight successful airport marketing plans. Assistance in Developing a Marketing Plan The use of a marketing or public relations firm can help an airport develop a marketing plan from an objective viewpoint and help deflect possible political influence. A marketing consultant can also efficiently generate market research and identify the most effective marketing tools to utilize. They can also assist with advertising materials, website development, social media and advertising placement. Other qualified resources that could be considered in the development of marketing plans include local colleges and universities, economic development groups, cham- bers of commerce, city staff and volunteers. Source: ACRP Report 28, used with permission from GMH Consulting, LLC Goals/Objectives SWOT Resources Redefine Goals/Objectives Audience/Message/Actions Tools to Reach Audience and Deliver Message Execute Plan Monitor/Evaluate E xecu tin g P lan n in g Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4 Step 5 Step 6 Step 7 Figure 16. Seven steps to creating a marketing plan.
CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community 247 Resources/Tools Several other resources can be used to assist in the development of your airport marketing plan: â¢ ACRP Report 28, Chapter 13: Marketing Plan Worksheets, provides worksheets, prompts and examples for completing an airport marketing pan. Worksheets include a SWOT primer, SWOT examples, SWOT analysis worksheet, marketing inventory worksheetâhuman resources, marketing inventory worksheetâfinancial resources, marketing action plan and marketing record. â¢ ACRP Report 28, Chapter 14: Case Studies, provides detailed case studies of three airports that have implemented successful marketing plans. â¢ The AAAEâs âA Focused Marketing Plan for General Aviation Airportsâ is a white paper that contains useful information on marketing for airports, including how to conduct an inventory of your airport and how to develop marketing plans. It also discusses a variety of possible marketing tools that could be considered.
248 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports 6.4 Communication Tools Key Insights The most effective communication tools will vary by airport and depend on the airportâs goals, message and audience. Social media has become a key communication tool for airports over the last several years. Key Definitions Earned media: Publicity gained through promotional efforts other than paid media. Media relations plan: A document that provides the process of how to interact with the media with clarity and purpose. Owned media: Content the airport is in control ofâits website, social media, etc. Paid media: Advertising purchased through publications, radio or television stations, websites and social media. Press kit: A document that contains information and photographs about the airport and is used to submit publicity materials to the media for consideration. Social media management: The utilization of tools to grow social media presence, monitor accounts and keep track of online activities of various social platforms. Types of Communication Tools Airports must rely on various communication tools to engage stakeholders, promote the airport, network, advertise, inform the media and relay important information. Step 5 of the seven steps to creating a marketing plan is âTools to Reach Audience and Deliver Message.â ACRP Report 28: Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports provides a description of the various marketing tools and advertising techniques for consideration. Which tool is chosen will depend on the message, the audience you are trying to reach, budget and other factors. This report also notes examples and best practices for using traditional means, websites and social media for airport communication and marketing. ACRP Report 28 divides marketing tools into three categories: public relations, advertising and networking. Figure 17 shows the various communication and marketing tools that can be considered. For detailed descriptions, information on the relative costs and examples, see ACRP Report 28, Chapters 9 through 12. The report also highlights the five essential communi- cation tools for airports: â¢ Press kits â¢ Websites â¢ Earned media â¢ Networking â¢ Public speaking Social Media Social media provide a way to reach the local community and highlight the role of the airport as a transportation gateway and an economic benefits generator. ACRP Synthesis 56:
CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community 249 Understanding the Value of Social Media at Airports for Customer Engagement provides infor- mation about using social media platforms to enhance customer engagement. Although the synthesis discusses many initiatives that larger commercial service airports are undertaking, much of the information is relevant to smaller airports as well. Chapter 2 of ACRP Synthesis 56 describes the social media platforms and management tools that can be considered for airport communication and marketing. The platforms include Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, LinkedIn and others. Social media manage- ment tools allow you to evaluate social media data, monitor conversations and schedule posts. In terms of content, postings about airport events, pictures, videos and partnerships with the local community or airport businesses are a few of the typical community engagement strate- gies. This synthesis also provides many example posts that airports have used to communicate with the public, and Appendix C provides example social media guidelines and policies for consideration. Social media can also be used to help effectively manage crisis events. For more information on crisis communication, refer to Section 6.6: Emergency Communication. Media Relations Plan Creating a relationship with local and regional media (newspaper, TV, radio) can be done intentionally and strategically. A proactive relationship with the media can be formalized through a media relations plan. Figure 18 shows the components of an airport media relations Source: Adapted from ACRP Report 28:Marketing Guidebook for Small Airports, 2010 Public Relations (free publicity) â¢ Earned media â¢ Press kit â¢ Press releases â¢ Articles/stories â¢ Interviews â¢ Public service announcements â¢ Public speaking â¢ Events â¢ Air shows â¢ Open houses â¢ Educational programs â¢ Promotions â¢ Contests/drawings â¢ Giveaways â¢ Free amenities â¢ Reduced rates and charges â¢ Sponsorship and volunteering â¢ Sponsoring students/interns â¢ Support nonprofit events â¢ Board participation â¢ Volunteering in community â¢ Other print communiciations â¢ Customer satisfaction surveys â¢ Economic impact studies â¢ Newsletters â¢ White papers â¢ Testimonials Advertising (paid publicity) â¢ Internet and websites â¢ Print media â¢ Print ads â¢ Direct mail â¢ Marketing brochures â¢ Signs â¢ Billboards â¢ Other outdoor advertising â¢ Portable banners â¢ Meeting/convention displays â¢ Multimedia â¢ Radio â¢ TV â¢ Digital video â¢ Websites â¢ Airport website â¢ Links to other websites â¢ Streaming video â¢ Search engines â¢ RSS feed â¢ E-newsletters Networking (building relationships) â¢ Business, civic and nonprofit networking â¢ Chamber of commerce â¢ Economic development â¢ Community service groups â¢ Universities and colleges â¢ Youth programs â¢ Networking with professional and industry organizations â¢ Trade shows and conferences â¢ General aviation conferences â¢ Air service conferences â¢ Marketing and communication conferences â¢ Aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul conferences â¢ State conferences â¢ Strategic partnerships â¢ Marketing alliances â¢ Lobbying â¢ Contact managers and networking tools Figure 17. Types of communication tools.
250 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports plan. It is an advantage for an airport operator to establish a relationship with the local media, in addition to providing news to the media outlets. There are several useful tools and resources to help develop an airport media relations plan: â¢ ACRP WebResource 1: Aligning Community Expectations with Airport Roles provides the following: â A worksheet tool (Developing a Media Relations Plan) that airports can use when developing a media relations plan. â A press kit checklist. â A media contact worksheet that can help catalog contacts for print, television and radio. â¢ The AOPA media relations web page has a link to AOPAâs media relations team that provides advocacy services and can connect reporters with in-house experts on a variety of aviation topics. â¢ The AOPA Resources for You web page provides a toolbox of media resources. Source: Adapted from Developing an Airport Media Relations Plan, ACRP WebResource 1: Aligning Community Expectations with Airport Roles Figure 18. Components of an airport media relations plan.
CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community 251 6.5 Economic Impact Key Insights The economic contribution of an airport is typically measured in terms of jobs, payroll and output. There are a variety of acceptable models and methodologies that can be used to calculate economic benefit, and no standard way to compute it. The most widely used model is the input-output method, which measures direct, indirect and multiplier impacts. Many state departments of aviation develop airport economic impact studies for their airports. A consulting firm or local academic institution may also be of assistance in the development of an airportâs economic impact. In addition to economic value, airports create qualitative value to a community, including assisting emergency medical response and supporting agriculture, disaster response and recovery, police and fire access, tourism and entertainment opportunities, military, search and rescue and traffic reporting, among many other items. Key Definitions Airport economic impact: The contribution of the airport to the regional economy, quantified in terms of employment, payroll and output. Direct economic impacts: Jobs, payroll and output associated with â¢ The businesses at an airport that are typically related to the provision of aviation services, â¢ The economic benefits from spending in the local area by visitors that arrive by air, and â¢ The economic benefits of aviation-reliant businesses. Induced, indirect and multiplier economic impacts: The benefits resulting from the recircu- lation of direct impacts within the economy. Understanding the Economic Impact of Your Airport Your airport is an economic engine and an important asset to your community. The live- lihood and community support of your airport depend on the support of the public, business leaders and elected officials. Having a community that understands and appreciates the value of your airport is imperative. One way an airport can determine its value is by quantifying its economic impact. An airportâs economic impact is its contribution to the regional economy in terms of jobs, payroll and output. ACRP WebResource 1: Aligning Community Expectations with Airport Roles includes an economic section in the Aviation Toolkit. This section provides information that enables you to understand the role of your airport within the economy and provides examples, tools and resources that can be used to determine the value of your airport. According to the study, airports contribute to local economies in three primary ways: 1. On-airport economic activity and employment 2. Airport-adjacent economic development 3. Off-airport activity at businesses that rely on aviation for business travel, cargo transport and access to visitors
252 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports Calculating Economic Impact Many states have developed economic impact studies for all airports in their state airport system. The National Association of State Aviation Officials provides a library of completed state aviation economic impact studies. Airport economic impact can also be calculated by an individual airport or community. There are several different ways to calculate economic impact, and different terminology such as the following is often used: â¢ Direct impacts: Include jobs, payroll and operating revenues associated with the following: â On-airport benefits from on-airport activity, including airport operations and adminis- tration, airlines and airline support services, concessions, ground transportation, FBOs, maintenance shops, etc. â CIPs on airport property, such as runway or terminal improvements that employ people in jobs in fields such as construction and engineering. â Benefits associated with airport-reliant businesses. See My Airportâs Business Constituency worksheet in ACRP WebResource 1. â Benefits associated with commercial service and/or GA visitor spending. See Visitor Spending worksheet in ACRP WebResource 1. This category is sometimes called âindirect impacts.â â¢ Multiplier impacts: Estimated based on direct impacts using regional input-output models that use region-specific economic data to trace interindustry relationships â Models include RIMS, IMPLAN and REMI. â Often called âinducedâ and/or âindirect impacts.â â¢ Total impacts: Direct impacts plus multiplier impacts for jobs, payroll and output ACRP Synthesis 7: Airport Economic Impact Methods and Models provides insights into the various methodologies of calculating economic impact. One widely used approach calculates direct impacts and multiplier impacts, as shown in Figure 19. Savings in time and transportation costs by using a more local airport can also be calculated and included. Using Economic Impact as a Public Relations Tool Armed with your airportâs economic impact, you can help the public better understand the value of your airport, especially if your airport does not have commercial service. Effectively communicating an airportâs economic role can be a powerful way of transforming discussions to focus on the âupsidesâ of aviation and the ways in which airport development can be coordi- nated with other economic development efforts. ACRP Report 132: The Role of U.S. Airports in the National Economy can be used as a reference to incorporate the national impact of airports into your airportâs outreach message. Direct Impacts Multiplier Impacts Total Impacts Total jobs Total payroll Total output On-airport activity Visitor activity Airport-reliant businesses On-airport construction Figure 19. How to calculate economic impact.
CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community 253 Knowing Your Users Airports benefit from managers and staff working with their tenants and users to under- stand, describe and communicate the value of an airport and its contribution to the surrounding economy. Outreach to an airportâs core constituency can help build a narrative around the eco- nomic role of the airport while establishing a channel for two-way communications, enabling users to offer their perspectives. This outreach can include conducting interviews with known airport users and major regional employers to further illustrate your economic story. Conducting forums for tenants or members of the business community to discuss the benefits of the airport to the community and meetings for GA users are other low-cost outreach efforts to demonstrate the value of the airport to the community. Being an Economic Development Partner For airport-reliant industries (those that rely on aviation for goods transportation, business travel and delivery of services, and that bring in tourists), airports can play a critical role in busi- ness attraction and retention. Speak to people from the economic development and business community to ensure that the economic impact message is part of their discussions regarding future business location decisions. ACRP WebResource 1 has a self-assessment guide to identify airport-reliant businesses. Collaborate with community stakeholders to ensure everyone knows and is speaking to the economic benefit of the airport. This will help to highlight your airport as an asset within desti- nation marketing and event recruitment efforts. (See ACRPâs tool, Outreach and Recruitment: Your Airport as an Asset.)
254 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports 6.6 Emergency Communication Key Insights The airport should have a designated spokesperson who is trained and prepared to serve in this role. Communicate accurate information as soon as possible. Form partnerships and networks with a wide range of agencies and organizations that are responsible for first response and recovery. Practice emergency events to fine-tune the communication process. Communication should be controlled by the airport, and certain data should be secure (personal data, need-to-know security information and operational information). Key Definitions Crisis communication plan: A document that helps determine how an airport will commu- nicate to the news media, passengers, families, airport personnel and stakeholders. Crisis management team: A group of people trained to respond immediately to warning signals of crisis and execute relevant plans to overcome emergency situations. The team protects the airport against the adverse effects of crisis and prepares the airport for inevitable threats. Overview Emergency communication, including crisis communication, is important for any airport. For a small airport, developing a manageable emergency communication plan that fits the airport facility is part of disaster planning and working with the community for the good of all who live there. ACRP Synthesis 73: Emergency Communications Planning for Airports offers information on emergency communication planning for airports of all sizes. ACRP Synthesis 82: Uses of Social Media to Inform Operational Response and Recovery During an Airport Emergency addresses how airports use social media to glean information to use in their responses. ACRP Report 170: Guidebook for Preparing Public Notification Programs at Airports identifies practices to implement emergency and routine public notifications. The objective of crisis communications is to mitigate potential reputational damage by providing credible, accurate information about an unfolding crisis as rapidly as possible and to demonstrate that the organization is responding in a professional, planned and appropriate manner. A key challenge is to maintain confidence in your airport management. A few of the key items to always acknowledge during a crisis include knowing your audience, sending appro- priate messages, maintaining a timely response, accepting responsibility, maintaining credibil- ity, expressing regret and coordinating with others. An airport can also consider transitioning from stand-alone communication technologies and systems into a single, unified system, which allows operators to control inputs and outputs and extend their responses beyond the airport property. The 2013 Sara M. Antol and Robert E. Butter presentation âCrisis Communications: Prepa- ration and Responseâ (hosted by the Association of Corporate Counsel) identified six steps of crisis planning: (1) identify the issues, (2) develop a team, (3) develop policies and statements, (4) prepare responses, (5) train and practice and (6) update and review.
CommunicationâPromoting the Airport and Connecting with the Community 255 Crisis Communication Plan A crisis communication plan helps determine how an airport will communicate to news media, passengers, families, airport personnel and stakeholders to mitigate potential reputational damage. A communication plan should include on-airport groups (e.g., tenants, passengers, employees, vendors), off-airport groups (e.g., federal and state government authorities), emergency services (e.g., police, fire, ambulance) and geographic neighbors (e.g., industrial facilities, hotels, rental car companies, air freight facilities, hospitals, schools). The sidebar lists the elements of a crisis communications plan. A crisis communication plan can be part of an airport emergency plan (AEP). The FAA offers guidance for developing an AEP in FAA Advisory Circular 150/5200-31: Airport Emergency Plan. While an AEP is required for Part 139 airports, all GA airports can benefit from adopting and implementing certain parts of such a plan. The University of Minnesotaâs Airport Technical Assistance Program developed Emergency Guidebook for General Aviation Airports: A Guide- book for Municipal Airport Managers as well as a General Aviation Airport Emergency Plan Template for use in emergency planning and communication planning. Key resources for airports to use when developing a crisis communication plan include the following: â¢ ACRP Synthesis 73: Emergency Communications Planning for Airports â¢ ACRP Report 12: An Airport Guide for Regional Emergency Planning for CBRNE Events â¢ The International Air Transport Association (IATA)âs Crisis Commu- nications and Social Media: A Best Practice Guide to Communicating in an Emergency The IATA document and ACRP Synthesis 73 include sample crisis state- ments, forms and case studies for use when developing your plan. Victim Assistance Following an aviation disaster, an airport operatorâwhether for GA or commercial serviceâshould be prepared to assist families and survivors affected by the event. Many factors may come into play during the after- math of an aviation disaster. Airports must understand the operational and logistical needs during this time and should ensure a family or victim assis- tance program is in place and all agencies and entities understand their roles and responsibilities. Responding organizations will include air carriers or aircraft operators, hospitals, American Red Cross, medical examiner or coroner, ARFF or fire department and police. GA airports may want to include others in the community that may be needed for assistance, such as airport volunteers, city and county government, religious organizations, doctors, mental health professionals and transportation organizations. A communication plan is also a critical piece of the family assistance program to ensure appropriate and timely messages are being communicated to airport personnel, emergency responders, the media, the public and the families of the victims. The designation and process of having a family assistance center should be identified in the plan as well. The NTSB offers guidance concerning the role of all parties (air carriers, federal agencies, American Red Cross and local agencies) when responding to commercial airline accidents ELEMENTS OF A CRISIS COMMUNICATION PLAN â¢ Statement of company communication policy, including authorized spokespersons â¢ Outline of the communication organization and its interface with the corporate crisis management team â¢ Description of functional roles and responsibilities and candidates to fill them â¢ Checklists for each functional role, outlining the main tasks â¢ Templates for initial "holding statements," including initial online posts, which can be issued immediately after key information is confirmed (for various possible scenarios, including aircraft accident, serious incident, diversion, hijacking or other security incident and service disruption) â¢ Contact lists for important internal and external contacts (including media lists, lists of online influencers and service providers) â¢ Standard forms and documentation (for example, media call logging form, press conference registration form) Source: IATAâs Crisis Communications and Social Media: A Best Practice Guide to Communicating in an Emergency
256 Guidebook for Managing Small Airports in its Federal Family Assistance Plan for Aviation Disasters. It includes victim support tasks and checklists that summarize all the appropriate actions to make when responding to an accident. FAA Advisory Circular 150/5200-31C contains an AEP template that all Part 139 airports must follow and includes some guidance on including provisions for family support following an aviation disaster. ACRP Report 171: Establishing a Coordinated Local Family Assistance Program for Airports provides guidance to airports on how to assist victims and families affected by an aviation disaster. The information in this guide will help an airport ensure a coordinated and compassionate response to survivors and families. It includes a family assistance communication plan, which can be included in the crisis communication plan, and checklists, sample brochures and other materials needed in emergencies. Table 1 of ACRP Report 171 is a lengthy list of the roles and responsibilities of the airport operator as well as all others involved in an aviation disaster. Two training courses (Appendix 4) that were developed in conjunction with the guide are designed to assist airports with developing their family assistance programs and preparing airport personnel to support family assistance activations. Templates for developing and conducting airport exer- cises are included in Appendix 5 of ACRP Report 171. An airport should be prepared for family members who may want to return to the site on the anniversary of the accident to remember their loved ones.