Emerging Issues for ACRP:
Challenges and Opportunities for the Airport Business Model


Background Statement

Airports are facing numerous challenges regarding technology, revenue and governance that impact how airports are operated and maintained. Airports need to consider new business models to address those challenges.

Research Ideas

  • Explore differences between Europe and US management models, organizations, as well as commercialized or privatized. What can we learn? i.e. TNC access fees (Europe), new revenue sources such as charge a toll road fee to access the airport, airports creating/operating transportation services to the airport (e.g. downtown-airport buses, rail services, etc.), airports creating JVs for operating retails, benefits of outsourcing or not airport functions and missions (e.g. AGL and pavement maintenance)?
  • In the European model, are airline charges significantly higher at privatized airports than at non-privatized airports? In this model, how is the leadership transitioned when airports are privatized—and how doe that impact the compensation levels for senior airport officials?
  • Financial and management considerations in project delivery. This could include consideration of alternative project delivery methods such as P3s and the lack of management bandwidth to oversee large development programs. (state laws prevent certain methods – provide information for a public entity to educate airports on how to take it to their State legislatures (i.e. NYS P3 laws)).
  • New revenue generators – how to better utilize big data, targeting advertisements (there’s so much data to be mined, i.e. pop up advertisements), for being the source of data for Google, marketing partnerships between parking and airlines, TSA bins and naming rights, etc.
  • How to use big data and data analytics to drive increased revenues and reduce operating expenses: with the increasing availability of data collection and management technologies, there is a ton of airport operating data that is out there, but much of this is not being collected by airports and leveraged for business and financial planning purposes. How to partner with different vendors (TNCs and concessionaires) to access the data. How to best utilize the information. What is the investment to be made? What are the most substantive risk? How to analyze what would be the most impactful to airports.
  • Technology - use of biometrics – what is the benefit?
  • Opportunities and threats from disruptive technologies -what technologies are going to play a significant role in the future and how can airports adapt?
  • Guidebook for development activity – land use opportunities.
  • Business models and use of revenues.
  • Is the independent authority the best governance model to run airports?
  • Repurposing facilities – What do we do with excess space in existing CONRACs and parking garages? How can they be used for other purposes as well as for autonomous vehicles? (ACRP 03-47)
  • Current practices for different rates and charges for common use facilities.
  • The pros and cons of airport/airline consortiums for traditional and potential new ways to manage an operation or an entity.
  • How can airports be more efficient in project delivery to meet budget and schedule constraints?
  • What are innovative ways to reduce and control operating expenses to address reduction in revenues?
  • Blockchain technology and the implications on airport financial operations.
  • What is the impact of robotics / automation advances and SMART Solutions on facility requirements and resiliency?
  • Tools and methods for managing ongoing legacy costs throughout facility asset life-cycle including maintenance, operations, utilities, and component renewal – identify quantitative tools and methods for airports to manage these costs throughout the life cycle, applying CAPEX and OPEX approaches.


Related ACRP Research