Research Projects

Airport Common Use Program Development Guidebook In Reserve

In 2010, the ACRP published Report 30: Reference Guide on Understanding Common Use at Airports. Since that time, the airport strategies for implementation of common use and the technological solutions have significantly changed. Today, there is a greater focus on the "seamless passenger journey", providing new common use options, introducing technology innovations, and adapting to new business models. The research proposed in this problem statement would revisit this topic under contemporary circumstances.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

The ACRP published Report 30: Reference Guide on Understanding Common Use at Airports in 2010, with a focus on assisting airports and airlines in understanding and evaluating the business case for integrating "common use" into their operations. At that time, "common use" generally referred to a technology solution that enabled different airlines to process passengers at the check-in counter, self-service kiosks, or gates using a common set of computer equipment and peripherals. Report 30 did not focus specifically on the technology, but rather addressed "common use" from a broader perspective as an operating model to enable airport operators to make the shift from an airline-controlled environment to an airport operator managed facility. The guidance provided in Report 30 is still valuable and applicable to many airports who have not yet adopted a common use operating model. However, since that time, the airport strategies for implementation of common use and the technological solutions have significantly changed. Today, there is a greater focus on the "seamless passenger journey", providing new common use options, introducing technology innovations, and adapting to new business models.

Today, Airport Operators and Airlines are increasingly focused on improving the passenger experience. Industry associations, such as IATA and ACI, have been providing leadership in developing strategic approaches toward improving passenger experience for years, but many airport operators are responding to the need for improved passenger experiences in an ad-hoc manner to address a specific issue. In many airports, the common use solution currently in place may not have the capability to deliver the desired functionality thereby limiting the airport operator's ability to provide the needed level of customer service to its airlines and passengers. As an example, several airlines provide video displays in their hold rooms that contain information such as flight upgrade and standby lists or advertising. Providing this capability in a common use environment is not typical and is considered by some airlines to be a significant downgrade in passenger experience when compared to their preferentially leased spaces.

In other cases, new common use solutions are being procured and implemented based on the known requirements rather than a forward-thinking alignment with a strategic approach toward passenger experience improvements. These solutions are often unable to adapt to the changing needs of the environment and will struggle to keep pace with the passenger experience enhancements that airlines and airport operators are implementing in the non-common use areas of the airport, such as self-service bag drop, baggage tracking, and self-boarding.

Technology innovations are a key enabler to many of the passenger experience enhancements, but also create opportunity for improvements in operational efficiency, which is a primary business driver for common use. Report 30 addressed the operational efficiency benefits of common use primarily from the perspective of sharing passenger processing resources among airlines and enabling the relocation of airlines during irregular operations or times of construction. Today, technological advancements such as RFID, biometric identification, cloud services, mobile devices, 5G wireless communications, and others have the capability to improve operational efficiency of the common use solutions. As with the passenger experience implementations, these technologies are typically considered as they relate to individual initiatives and result in similar limitations and shortcomings within a common use environment.

Since the development of Report 30 common use solution providers have been adapting their business models to take advantage of new technological capabilities. As a result, solution providers are developing different approaches to providing the products and services that support their vision of how the common use environment will evolve. Airport operators must make determinations on whether they should procure a suite of common use solutions from a single provider as a bundled solution or procure the individual common use solutions that best meet their needs from multiple providers and strive to then integrate these disparate systems. Resource Management Systems (RMS) are common examples of the need to procure solutions individually. The RMS is a primary tool for the Airport Operator to maximize the operational efficiency of the airport, and the bundled solution offerings of the common use providers may not provide the flexibility and complexity required. In cases where the Airport Operator is seeking the best-in-class solutions, separate procurements that include products from a wider array of solution providers would be merited. This may be necessary to meet the needs of the airport and will require a greater level of executive management buy-in to be successful.

Finally, the ACRP Report 30: Reference Guide on Understanding Common Use at Airports responded to the need for airport operators to understand how to take greater control over the airport operations as a result of the disruptive impacts during the previous decade that caused massive flight reductions. These included the impacts of September 11, 2001, the jet fuel price increases in 2007 and 2008, and the financial recession in 2008 and 2009. It was written with the purpose of helping airport operators make informed decisions about implementing a common use operating model. Just one decade later, passenger traffic is increasing, and airport operators are utilizing common use to deal with disruptive impacts such as tarmac delays, irregular operations, and the need to share gates due to capacity constraints and construction for growth. There is a significant need to help airport operators understand how to develop an Airport Common Use Program that aligns with the airport vision and provides the framework for the development of a strategy, evaluation of initiatives, implementation of solutions, measurement of value, and assessment of next steps.

Approach (Describe in general terms the steps you think are needed to achieve the objective.)
  1. Kickoff web meeting with ACRP Project Panel
  2. Primary research of airports, airlines, solution providers, industry associations, enabling technologies, innovations in development, etc.
  3. Case Study research of high value subjects (Airports, Airlines, Solution Providers)
  4. Identification of key Program elements to guide development
  5. Develop Draft Final Deliverables
  6. Final Deliverable: Airport Common Use Program Development Guidebook
Cost Estimate and Backup (Provide a cost estimate and support for how you arrived at the estimate.)

$400,000 - Estimated based on funding for similar projects

Related Research - List related ACRP and other industry research; describe gaps (see link to Research Roadmaps above), and describe how your idea would address these gaps. This is a critical element of a synthesis topic submission.

ACRP Report 30

Annotations
Idea No. 213