Realize that the route planners at
most airlines are responsible for
dozens of cities and can’t possibly
remember these statistics or even
what state your airport is located in.
(MCI is still in Missouri — for now.)
Staff continually must remind each
airline who and where you are. It
is all about relationships, and the
more exposure staff can have with
airline planners the better.
Before the marketing department
matures, a small contract with a
consultant specifically targeted at
one route or airline is best to deal
with the mountain of DOT statistics.
It is valuable for your marketing
staff to witness the interaction
between the consultant and airline
planners. Can you find a local
person interested in the air service
development job and train him or
her? Sure! How much time do you
have? I’m sure we have all met this
person. He/she stands out at social
functions, makes friends easily, and
volunteers opinions often — the cool
kids in school. It takes a dedicated
airport director to foster this
position, not to mention the amount
of travel and introductions required.
At airports with an extremely small
budget, it could be the only choice
available. Again, the consultant
can be of assistance provided the
company doesn’t feel like a training
department and tossed aside once the
education is completed.
The marketing department also
has a host of other duties that haven’t
been discussed: golf tournaments,
charity functions, employee picnics,
holiday parties, filling in for the
receptionist (a personal favorite) and
attending a multitude of trade shows.
A great marketing director can
mentor these new employees and
prepare them to eventually love
aviation as we all do.
Mark VanLoh, A.A.E., is CEO of Tulsa
International, and a member of Airport
Magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board. He may
be reached at