The main areas of focus in this phase:
1. Business Continuity – Many airports probably did not include a “complete lockdown” scenario in their Business Continuity Plan (BCP) previously. However, they reacted in a timely manner, implementing temporary fixes for social distancing, remote working, screening standards, and more. In fact, the Greater Toronto Airport Authority recently created a playbook for pandemic situations. Some of the scenarios we’ve experienced were part of it while others were not, but the organization reacted in timely manner regardless.
These fixes are being made while passenger and airline traffic are at their lowest. Airports need to evaluate whether these measures should be included in their medium-to-long term BCPs.
How Pearson Airport has coped up with the pandemic
2. Cost Containment – Airports must examine current initiatives and programs, evaluating or prioritizing sourcing agreements, services, and discretionary expenses. This must be done considering current non-BAU circumstances, helping circumvent possible cash flow or liquidity challenges in the near and medium terms.
Here are some examples of immediate response made by large airports across the globe:
Frankfurt Airport responds to COVID-19 crisis with defined procedures and major cost-reductions
Dubai Airports waives minimum guarantees to its commercial partners as part of Covid-19 assistance programme
During this phase, airports must take on optimization and consolidation opportunities. Many BCPs now likely include scenarios that were not thought of earlier, and new passenger habits and behaviors will emerge as the world comes out of lockdown. Additionally, airports can leverage their observations and experiences, helping them strategizing a better future. Also, in this phase there is a great opportunity to look at consolidation across contracts especially the IT services that can not only provide major and immediate cost efficiencies, but also opportunity for digital partnership to set airports into the transform phase.
This phase can begin once airports start seeing some certainty. There will be opportunities to start exploring new remote and global models of service delivery, as well as the chance to adapt to a new emergent business model that can work in the best and worst situations.
Introducing business changes that cater to new passenger and airport stakeholder habits and expectations will happen at this time. This includes implementing digital platforms, self-service options, and automation opportunities for contactless, safe, and responsible experiences.
While it’s important to keep an eye on medium- and long-term plans, it’s more important to survive today’s circumstances. The current situation will take anywhere from 3 to 9 months for demand recovery to begin. Because of this, it’s important to focus on cost containment and business continuity while surviving in the meantimpact:
Shifting the Business Resiliency Framework for survival
During the “Survive” phase, there are several areas that can be analyzed for opportunities to contain costs, repurposing them for business continuity and future needs. Finding opportunities that give quick results is key during this time. We’ve provided a high-level framework with a cross-reference matrix of different initiatives and various dimensions below. The circles indicate high impact: