to see congestion created at the curbside and roads,
and pressures affecting baggage systems, as they can
become overloaded. So there’s a lot of load balancing
going on, trying to realign capacity to activity. We
see the impact of mergers affecting discussions over
airline operating agreements as well.
Another area where many airports are putting
their money or looking very closely at is how
to sustain international traffic growth, which
is an issue of constrained federal resources for
expanding CBP (Customs and Border Protection)
operations. We’re seeing a growing roll-out of
automated passport control (APC) kiosks. It’s been
very quick, seemingly within one year of the roll-out in various Canadian airports, that APC was
being announced in Chicago, Orlando, DFW. So,
supporting international service is important to
many airports that are seeing it as their fastest
growing traffic sector in the near term.
Finally, there are always efforts underway
by airports to revitalize or re-life their facilities
in the context of mergers, changes to security
programs, figuring out how to create new value for
underutilized, and adapting gates to accommodate
aircraft fleet changes.
SANDIFER: Part of that revitalization, I think, is
airports looking for opportunities to increase their
revenue. Concessions would be a great example.
Re-life your concessions. Change your branding.
Figure out how you can increase your sales per
passenger. Offer new product lines, a different
product mix. It is really a focus on maybe not
necessarily seeing a short- or long-term revenue
growth opportunity in terms of passenger growth.
It is how to get more revenue per passenger who is
coming through your facility, and a lot of people are
starting to make those types of ROI decisions and
invest in capital infrastructure that drives the ROI.
GOUDREAU: And to build on what Bill is saying,
again, I am going to speak from more of an airline
perspective. Capitalizing on concessions programs
where people spend money and that’s money
back into the airport is important, but also, as an
airline, you are looking to enhance your passenger
experience. What are the things that you can do
at your airport to distinguish you, to make you
a much more pleasant experience? So from an
airline perspective, if I don’t need any terminal
space, because I’ve got enough gates, I’d rather
have the airport invest the money in improving my
passenger experience from the time that they come
into the airport to when they are waiting in the
hold room, so maybe that’s concessions.
We’ve all seen what LaGuardia is doing in terms of
the concessions program, where they are converting
hold rooms into restaurants and retail facilities. Is
that a way to go? Maybe. The jury is still out on that,
but those are the kinds of things where I think the
airlines are looking for the airports to invest, besides
the basic necessities that Joe mentioned.