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Consulting Recommendations for Challenging Decisions in Airports

Basic Description and Identifying Challenging Decision

Your role is that of a consultant to the airport you have selected. The airport should be facing a ‘challenging decision’ about its future that you have been asked to provide recommendations on. Examples of decisions could be:

• Shutting down the airport
• Adding/closing new runway / terminal / cargo facility / utilities
• New incentive program to attract new airlines
• Changing ownership structure
• Attracting new retail / suppliers (e.g. FBO)
• Changing de-icing operations

The decision does not need to be an ‘actual’ one the airport is currently facing – you are free to ‘create’ a decision as long as it is plausible. The decision does need to be ‘future-based’ (e.g. you can’t conduct an analysis of a decision the airport just recently made in real life). 

1.Choose an airport that you find particularly interesting. You must choose an airport that falls within one of the categories posted on OWL. If in doubt feel free to ask if your airport fits.

2A. Basic description and Identifying Challenging Decision. Perform a search on your airport and identify key basic descriptive characteristics. What type of operations are conducted at the airport? Who is the dominant carrier / airport user? How would you categorize / classify the airport (as discussed in class / textbook)? How does the airport fit into the local, national, and international airport systems (are there multiple airports in the local airport system? Is the airport a hub?) How does the airport relate to its local community – who are the key stakeholders and how are they (if they are) represented? Include a preliminary indication of the ‘challenging decision’ that you will be providing a recommendation on. (you are free to change and adjust as the term progresses). Sketch out what analyses (but don’t perform yet) you think you will need to develop recommendation(s).

2B. Regulatory and Financial characteristics.

1) What organization regulates the airport, are there key / important / unique regulations that dictate decisions made by the airport?

2) What is the ownership structure of the airport? Who operates the airport (is it different from the owner?) How does the airport generate revenue (does it primarily generate revenue from air operations (landing / terminal charges or from retail / rent?)? What are its biggest expenses? What does its latest financial statements tell you about its financial condition (making/losing money, what investments have been
made recently (financial details, not operational details for moment)?

3) Sketch out a plan for when you will do any analyses related to airport finances that are needed for developing a recommendation to the ‘challenging decision’.

2C. Describe how the airport operates. What are the main runways? How many terminals? Are there unique / interesting characteristics of the terminal layout? Are all users treated equally? Are there local noise procedures? Are there terminal or runway or environmental specific operating conditions? What facilities are there for ground access? Cargo facilities? What unique operational constraints are present? What capacity constraints exist? Start developing sections of the report that will describe the ‘challenging decision’ facing the airport and the methods you are using to develop recommendations. Update your plan on analyses related to airport finances. Sketch out a plan for when you will do any analyses related to airport operations that are needed for developing are commendation to the ‘challenging decision’.

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