National Academies Press: OpenBook

Airport Operations Training at Small Airports (2020)

Chapter: Chapter 6 - Conclusions and Future Research

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Page 60
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 6 - Conclusions and Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Airport Operations Training at Small Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25948.
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Page 61
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 6 - Conclusions and Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Airport Operations Training at Small Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25948.
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Page 61
Page 62
Suggested Citation:"Chapter 6 - Conclusions and Future Research." National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2020. Airport Operations Training at Small Airports. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/25948.
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Page 62

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60 This report is intended to present a summary of current practice in airport operations train- ing programs at small airports. Conclusions can be drawn from the responses gathered to arrive at a state of current practice and provide insight to airports moving forward. These conclusions are the topic of this chapter. Conclusion 1 The development of training curricula, methods, timelines, and so on is best accomplished from the employees’ perspective. Airports may consider the different levels of employee experi- ence and different employee learning styles, for example, in uniquely tailoring training for each employee. Conclusion 2 In an effort to create flexibility in training and in recognition of differences among employees in the level of comprehension, skill development, and so on, airports need to establish a training timeline, with a minimum amount of training required. Also, setting a maximum training time limit may disadvantage employees who require additional training to reach proficiency. In other words, employees benefit from receiving a certain minimum duration of training along with additional training time as necessary to build required proficiency and knowledge levels. Conclusion 3 Conducting a needs assessment for both employees and the airport is beneficial. Determining individual employee training needs, along with airport training needs, will guide development of a training program that meets the needs of both. Conclusion 4 Airport trainers benefit from a knowledge of individual learning styles and adult teaching methods. Airport operations experience alone is not sufficient to create a quality trainer. Conclusion 5 Having employees complete a learning styles inventory or assessment will enlighten trainers as to the preferred learning styles of employees. Even if employees feel they know their primary learning style, using the same assessment for all employees will generate consistent results. C H A P T E R 6 Conclusions and Future Research

Conclusions and Future Research 61 Conclusion 6 Employees benefit most when presented with engaging content that is easily accessible and meets all three learning styles. Conclusion 7 Dedicating sufficient funding to training allows airports to make employee training a priority. This is often accomplished with a line item for training in the airport budget. It may be helpful to consider the airport training budget averages presented in this report (see Chapter 4). Conclusion 8 Although the majority of airports participating in the survey do not have a dedicated training department, one option to consider is having dedicated resources in the form of a dedicated training department, even if staffed by only one individual. Conclusion 9 Airports may consider adopting some of the innovative training methods discussed in this report to enhance their own airport training programs (see Chapter 5). Conclusion 10 Airports may consider additional sources of training, to include products offered by AAAE and ACI–NA, as well as team teaching with peer airports and mutual aid agencies. Conclusion 11 Although a significant portion of current operations training is conducted on the job, com- bining other methods can result in better employee learning and engagement. Conclusion 12 In general, airports are not progressive when it comes to the training methods they use. For example, PowerPoint presentations are not innovative: they generally do not engage learners, and they tend to be viewed unfavorably by students. Conclusion 13 Every airport, it seems, conducts training differently. Some have a dedicated in-house trainer, whereas others contract training. Some use e-learning, and others rely on classroom training. Some are active in scenario-based training, and others teach needed content only via lecture. The key is to consider the learner and develop a training program that is based on a needs assessment. Conclusion 14 Small airports spend less time on training than do large airports.

62 Airport Operations Training at Small Airports Conclusion 15 There is no one best way to train airport operations personnel. In determining appropriate training methods, each airport considers issues such as funding, availability of a trainer, number of personnel to be trained, learning styles of employees, experience level of employees, whether training is initial or recurrent, and whether Part 139 training is required. Conclusion 16 The available literature on airport operations training is dated. This gap in the literature indi- cates an opportunity for the research and academic community to conduct relevant research in this area. Summary Although the 182 airports participating in this survey provided much insight, it is clear there is no one best way to conduct airport operations training. The unique and effective approaches show the variation among airports in their attempt to provide high-quality training to meet and exceed Part 139 requirements. Airports actively seeking ways to improve the training of airport operations personnel produce benefits for operations employees, airport users, and the airport industry. Further Research Although this report synthesizes current airport operations training practices, the airport industry continues to evolve, requiring airport staff to consider ways to more effectively train operations personnel. Because of this dynamic and the lack of recent research on this topic, continued research in this field is warranted. First, the lack of a nationwide curriculum for airport operations training programs suggests that research into the design of an ideal curriculum would be useful. Considering both Part 139 and the numerous skills, knowledge, and abilities required of airport operations personnel, a properly designed curriculum, in the form of a Guidebook for Airport Operations Training Curriculum, would benefit airports nationwide. More than a checklist, this curriculum would include topics, recommended time for each topic, assessments, and the flexibility necessary to accommodate different learning styles. A facilitator’s guide might accompany this guidebook to assist airport trainers. Second, because of the lack of consistent training materials used by airports nationwide to train airport operations personnel, research into the most appropriate training materials would be useful. This research would examine both in-house and off-the-shelf training materials, considering the needs of employees to ensure retention and future use as a reference. Third, a heavy reliance on typical PowerPoint and classroom lectures for airport opera- tions training suggests that research into more effective training methods would be useful. This research would consider innovative training methods as well as employee learning styles and generational differences among employees. With continuing research into airport operations training programs, more knowledge sharing can occur, producing benefits for airports to maintain a highly skilled, knowledgeable, and pro- ductive workforce. This, of course, benefits all airport users and ensures the safety of the entire aviation system.

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Managers of airports of all sizes face a perennial dilemma: how to efficiently train operations personnel to meet Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 139 requirements and ensure a safe and secure airport environment.

The TRB Airport Cooperative Research Program's ACRP Synthesis 112: Airport Operations Training at Small Airports focuses on airport operations employees and aims to better understand current training methods and programs in use by small airports in the United States (including nonhub, nonprimary commercial service, reliever, and general aviation) to initially and recurrently train airport operations employees.

Supplemental material to the report includes several appendices, including Appendix H, Appendix I, Appendix J, Appendix K, and Appendix L.

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