How should airports prioritize their 2018 budget best?

For many airports, the beginning of the new calendar year also means the beginning of a new budget year. Management groups in airports of all sizes and regions will be joining up to kick-off the identified strategic initiatives which they have identified in their airport strategy. I am sure some of you are familiar with this ongoing and at times tiring process So, how should airport managers make those priorities and be confident that the CAPEX investments yield the highest return?


What is trending in the Aviation industry

If we turn to what is trending in the industry market data shows that stronger economic growth is pushing traffic ahead of capacity globally. This leads to a need for more digitalization higher pressure on security regulations, privatization combined with higher pressure to drive efficiency and return on investment. In addition to this, infrastructure use costs are high, and inefficiencies in European airports alone add €3bn to airline costs in 2018.

Passengers expect a smooth journey without queues, stress, and hassle.

I think we can conclude that there are plenty reasons to put Airport Operational Management at the very top of the agenda in 2018 to the benefit of the passengers, airlines, airports, and investors as a whole.


Why operationalization of the digital strategy should be the no. 1 initiative prioritized in the 2018 budget

A critical focus area for airports is to improve the passenger experience through enhancing the passenger flow (incl. commercial areas), the baggage flow, and the aircraft flow. Digitalization is making information available but only through operationalization of the data, that is, using the date to improve plans, is the full benefit from data realized. Ultimately this improves the passenger journey.

Operational plans are no better than the quality of the data applied and hence, the identification and implementation of digital solutions is an essential element of the work that airports face in 2018. Furthermore, to reap the benefits of digitalization, there is a need to change the way airports work. Thus, change management is an enabler of successful digitalization and change management plays a key role in forming a Digital Airport Strategy.


You cannot go wrong with prioritizing fixing “the basics” and moving to digital

By bringing attention to fixing those “basic” elements and learning about your operation by looking at yesterday can take you far. The data is there, like low hanging fruit, ready to be picked. In fact – we have more than plenty of data, and there are solutions out there that can help bring the data to life.

To be digital, we need to move beyond the adoption of technology and think in operationalization and practicality. What does the adoption of new technology offer regarding enhanced passenger experience but equally important how do they reduce operating costs?


How can a single suite for airport operational management be a game changer?

Investing in a solution that uses your data and advanced mathematical algorithms to generate accurate forecasts and operational plans will have a significant positive impact on your business. Through an easy-to-use and incredibly intuitive user interface collaborative decision making is enabled.

A new offering on the market is Better Airport® which has the perfect fit for the Airport Operations Center delivering Total Airport Management by allowing data to be used practically and for relevant stakeholders to collaboratively decide on best plans. Moving to cloud-based technology also allows all staff pertinent to collaborate efficiently wherever they are.

Transparent plans can be trusted and subsequently followed. Evaluation can be done to ensure the airport learn and improve daily.



So, at your next management meeting or CAPEX investment budget meeting, ask yourself whether your airport organization has put enough thought into the operationalization of data. Has your organization fully identified the digital solutions that can help your airport efficiently manage the growth in passengers? Do your initiatives help you deliver the return on investments to your owners by delivering efficiencies? Do they help you utilize your infrastructure and delay the need for expansion? And ensure you can handle the next change to security regulations at your security or border checkpoint?


For inspiration on how other airports have put attention to better airport management read following case stories London Heathrow Airport, Dublin Airport Authority, London Luton Airport, Swedavia 


AUTHOR: Sarah Frances Procter
Sarah joined Copenhagen Optimization in 2017 after having held a variety of roles, including Route Development Manager, Airport Operation Management, and Director Real Estate at CPH Airport. Before this, Sarah worked in both the FMCG industry with PepsiCo International in the UK as well as in the IT sector.
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