How to prepare for a realistic yet encouraging recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic?

How to prepare for a realistic yet encouraging recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic?

The aviation industry is globally struggling with the effects of the Coronavirus resulting in 90% decrease of aircraft movements in the amount of aircraft movements at certain parts of the world, most notably Europe. While it is crucial for airports to respond to this sudden drop in order not to endanger their financial stability, it is also of great importance to understand and plan for the recovery that will happen after the severity level of the pandemic has reduced. Having a sound plan for recovery can be a make or break for airports to come out of this crisis stronger and healthier. Therefore, BEONTRA compiled a few recommendations on how to plan for a successful recovery.

Here are a few recommendations to consider when planning for your recovery:

Create multiple what-if scenarios

Due to the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 crisis, some of the airlines facing increased vulnerability might be on the verge of bankruptcy or having to significantly reduce their aircraft fleet. State aids might be given to some of these airlines, but it is still unknown whether all airlines, let alone all their routes, can be saved. Therefore, it is recommended that you create multiple what-if scenarios for your upcoming planning season on the expected amount of flights, especially if one or more of the endangered airlines serve a large percentage of your routes. It is of key importance to stay realistic about what portion of your traffic you can retain.

Expect aircraft changes

Airlines might choose not to fly parts of their fleet that are causing inefficient operations (both financially and in terms of emissions) such as the Boeing 747 or the Airbus A380. On the one hand, these might bring you lower passenger numbers and hence lower aeronautical revenues, simply because some of these routes might cease to exist or would be recovering over a long period of time. On the other hand, the overall sustainability of your airport would be increased since such routes will be served by different, modern and more efficient aircraft such as the Boeing 787 or Airbus A350.  These aircraft types have lower noise and fuel emissions contributing to a more sustainable aviation industry.

Stay conservative

Different sources state different scenarios regarding the speed and magnitude of the recovery within the aviation industry. Since most of the airline fleets are grounded, it is worthwhile to stay conservative and include more route characteristics than usual in your approach to recovery. As an example, domestic air travel will probably be quicker to get back on its feet, with restrictions likely to remain in place on international air traffic for a longer period of time. Furthermore, business traffic is likely to re-start earlier than leisure traffic as the trust of the general public in safe air travel is expectedly slow to be restored.  Hence, planning for a gradual and uneven recovery of air traffic is the safest approach. Create or update your seasonal aeronautical budget forecasts both with gradually increasing aircraft movements and also gradually increasing and segmented seat load factors to avoid overestimating your potential performance.

Conclusion

The short-term negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic can be followed by more long-term negative effects, but with adequate planning, the path to recovery can be optimised. Being realistic and exploring all possibilities, and at the same time staying optimistic that your airline partners and passengers will begin to visit your airport is the key to managing the situation properly. By accounting for the above-mentioned recommendations, you and your airport can aim for a planned recovery. When working with the BEONTRA Scenario Planning Suite you will be able to easily apply these recommendations into your recovery plans, hopefully leading to a more prosperous and profitable future.

Contact us or request a free demo to find out more about how BEONTRA can support your airport.

 

 

 

Digitally Connected Airports Conference Wrap-up

Digitally Connected Airports Conference Wrap-up

Last week BEONTRA attended the “Digitally Connected Airports Conference” hosted by Eurocontrol & ACI in Brussels. At this well-organized event, the European aviation community discussed the trends & challenges imposed on the industry in order to meet the future capacity demand.

With an expected growth of 48% in 2040, the slot-constrained aviation system is under extreme pressure to increase capacity. The growing consciousness around climate change and the EU green deal that was officially presented yesterday force airports to only consider expansion plans that do not have a negative impact on the environment.

Key take-aways the audience was briefed on to master this challenge were:

  • Increase stakeholder alignment
  • Put the passenger first
  • Support policies and legalization
  • Leverage technology & digitalization

BEONTRA contributes to these take-aways and is committed to the overall challenge of increasing capacity in a sustainable manner. Over the next months, we will fast-track and evaluate several ideas raised by our internal innovation platform process. Whether it affects your budget forecast, terminal capacity management scenarios or strategic development plan, BEONTRA will provide you with the transparency required to take sound and aligned decisions.

Contact us or request a free demo to find out more about how BEONTRA can support your airport.


How can the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on airport operations be minimized?

How can the impact of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) on airport operations be minimized?

Use these 4 recommendations

Last week’s IATA’s Economic Chart of the Week indicates that regional traffic in the Asia Pacific region is likely to decline significantly due to the recent outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). In an unfortunate scenario, more carriers in the Asia Pacific region can cancel more flights. This would increase the negative impact on the air traffic demand at the rest of the world’s airports. In such scenario, traffic patterns shift due to the cancellations, new security regulations are introduced which are all contributing to a working environment that is different from what people are used to.

Here are 4 recommendations on how you and your airport can efficiently handle the associated challenges:

Adjust your immigration queueing predictions & communicate the plan regularly

Due to the medical checks of arriving passengers right after landing, the arrival time of these passengers at the immigration and passport control check points can significantly change. Border officials might not be present in sufficient numbers at the right time to deal with the increased workload which could result in hour-long queues, unhappy passengers and increased health risks as a result of a high density of passengers in small areas. For that reason, when creating the plans, it is important to adjust the processing time for passengers of affected flights or modify some processes and share the adapted staff requirement with the border forces to flexibly manage the passenger queues. By using multiple scenarios in stakeholder discussions, you can jointly identify the best way to handle the upcoming situations.

Increase your situational awareness for on-the-day disruptions

Disruptions combined with unusual days of operations involving additional medical checks can result in more unexpected events on short notice. Short-term (near real-time) predictions of such irregularities can prepare your Airport Operations Control Centre (AOCC) and your duty managers for the unexpected events so they can take immediate preventive action. Create regular (every 15-30 minutes) predictions for the upcoming few hours related to your expected passenger flows and queueing phenomena to avoid bottlenecks in the terminal or on the apron.

Adjust your aeronautical budget forecast accordingly

Flights during a health epidemic are either cancelled or are operating with a lower seat load factor compared to an average day of operation due to a lot of passengers cancelling their trips. This introduces noise into your historical traffic data, which must be properly filtered out when creating your budget forecasts for the upcoming financial year. Whether you are taking a manual or an automated forecasting approach, marking these days as faulty and excluding them from your predictions is vital for an accurate budget forecast. Accordingly, your aeronautical revenues might decrease during a health epidemic, but it is crucial to understand that it is only a temporary phenomenon.

Make the most of the situation

Flight cancellations and fewer passengers can also be an opportunity for your airport to improve the usage of existing infrastructure or to plan and conduct necessary maintenance or construction tasks.

Fewer aircraft can be allocated to fewer aircraft stands, so re-adjusting your stand allocation for the affected time period can significantly improve your pier-service ratio, usage of preferred gates or give you the flexibility to do routine maintenance on some of your stands. The same applies for some of your terminal areas as your airport temporarily needs to handle less passengers, making this time suitable to prepare upgrades without significant disruptions.

Conclusion

Disruptions in your traffic demand can catch you by surprise, but that doesn’t mean that you end up with a severely negative impact. Assess the situation from multiple angles and create multiple what-if scenarios to map out all your options and choose the one that you feel most comfortable with. Additionally, don’t forget that such occurrences can enable you to carry out tasks that you would not optimally be able to do during normal operations, such as maintenance activities. At the end, it is how you respond to change that matters.