Building Back Airports Post COVID-19: A Toolkit Approach

Introduction

In recognition of the unprecedented challenges and risks which, virtually overnight, threatened our airport community, the team at Osprey, Northstar and Apus wanted to find a way to contribute to an industry that has for many years provided not just careers, but strong relationships and long-lasting friendships.

Understandably the pace of change is different from state to state, however many nations are working within a framework which seeks to de-escalate restrictions, including those on travel. Whilst encouraging, for airports that had to take significant measures to protect their ongoing operational and commercial viability, this brings fresh and potentially unparalleled challenges.

The Challenges Airports Face

As a multidisciplinary team with international experience working with airports, we acutely understand the difficulties being faced maintaining safe and efficient operations in a rapidly altered reality, including:

  • drastically reduced aeronautical and non-aeronautical income but no change in high fixed costs,
  • furlough and redundancy programmes leaving management teams without the inhouse resource and capability to effect meaningful change,
  • short term crisis management priorities leaving little headroom to focus on the future,
  • being forced to react to rapidly changing rules, regulations and procedures to maintain public health as well as traditional safety obligations,
  • staff wellbeing concerns, recognising the pressures on individuals who may have taken on additional work responsibilities at a time when they are lacking currency in ’normal‘ operations, and
  • the need for robust change management processes to manage risk and safely restart operations as travel restrictions ease.

As we begin to emerge from lockdown, potentially with some high initial peaks in demand, this altered reality must once again be carefully considered; key personnel may no longer be in the organisation, staff may be filling combined and unfamiliar roles and everyone, from management to operational staff, will be suffering a degree of skill-fade.

The Build Back Toolkit

To help all airports, whether a major international, regional, or local operation cope with these challenges, our team has developed a scalable, flexible Toolkit comprising a number of areas of focus, designed to help airports identify key issues and help them to safely and effectively “build back…”; whether that be building back more resilient, efficient, greener or financially secure operations.

Equally, airports may see this as a once in a generation opportunity, to “build back” in a different form; potentially using different business or operating models, targeting different sectors or changing investment priorities.

Our Toolkit, shown below, is based on extensive operational due diligence experience and provides an adaptable resource for airport teams to ensure they have covered the breadth of critical issues before determining which areas require specific focus and energy to identify approaches for effectively addressing them. It equally allows them to identify opportunities to initiate and manage change.

The Toolkit can be tailored to each specific airport’s demands and requirements. From extensive analysis of the impact of COVID-19 and close engagement with the airport community, we have identified the key Impact Areas that airports may want to consider. The temptation may be to address the most pressing or obvious issues, but the purpose of the Toolkit is to ensure all relevant Impact Areas are considered. The Toolkit then identifies the tools and processes that could be used to analyse them and then, perhaps most importantly, the optimum outcome for that Impact Area – i.e., ‘where do we want to be’.

Clearly airport teams may wish to tailor the Impact Areas, Analysis and Assessment Tools and Outputs to their specific circumstances, but we believe this may be a valuable starting point.

Our Contribution

During these challenging times we want to share this Toolkit with airport leaders to assist your teams to clarify and prioritise their key issues and risks. The Toolkit is offered with no obligation – all we ask is that you inform us of its use so that we can obtain feedback on its effectiveness and potential areas for improvement.

Any feedback received, as well as ongoing Osprey, Northstar and Apus airport analysis, will be used to regularly update the Toolkit model to ensure it is maintained as a continually updated open-source solution for airports to use in this, and potentially future, industry challenges.

All users will remain confidential at all times, and shared Toolkit enhancements will be anonymised.

If you would like to discuss the Build Back Toolkit further or would like assistance with its application, please contact any of the individuals below:
Richard Connelly – Osprey CSL – [email protected] – Tel: 07984 540953                   
George Tosh – Northstar – [email protected] Tel: +33 78696 5003
John Swift – Apus – [email protected] – Tel: +34 60849 5631



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