Building Future-Ready Airport Business Models

Building Future-Ready Airport Business Models
Oct 2020 , by , in Interviews

Kearney global report on ‘Building future-ready airport business models,’ draws lessons from leading airports in the world and discusses the three diversification strategies adopted at length.

External disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic have severely impacted the aviation sector, resulting in significant value erosion for service providers such as airlines, airport developers and operators.

“The aviation sector is particularly susceptible to disruptions like COVID, and such shocks can significantly reduce passenger traffic, especially in the short term. For airports, where passenger-driven revenue streams drive more than 60% of revenues even for best-in-class airports in the world, these disruptions can lead to acute financial pressures. Hence, it is critical for airport owners and operators to reassess their business models and improve their resilience in dealing with external shocks,” said, Manish Mathur, Partner and Head of Kearney’s Asia Pacific, Transportation and Infrastructure Practice.

As per industry reports, airlines across the world are expected to lose more than $300 billion as a result of the pandemic. There is a need for airport owners and operators to transform their existing business models to make their business resilient to external shocks and become future ready.

Bringing in global perspectives, Pablo Escutia, Kearney Partner from Spain and Global lead for Kearney’s airports vertical, said, “While most airports across the globe are moving towards non-aeronautical revenue streams, only a few leading ones such as Frankfurt, Changi are diversifying their operations to generate meaningful returns from passenger-independent revenue streams such as by utilizing real estate assets. It is the need of the hour for airport operators to start considering diversification strategies to make their business models more robust.”

Drawing lessons from leading airports in the world, including Frankfurt am Main Airport in Germany, Changi Airport in Singapore, Hong Kong International Airport, Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, that have adopted different strategies and business models to diversify their revenue streams, the three diversification strategies include:

  1. Sweating real estate assets to extract the most value
  2. Initiating capex-light service offerings with quick speed to market
  3. Geographically diversification of core business

Regarding diversification strategies, Anshuman Sinha, Kearney Partner, said, “Sweating real estate assets can generate significant value for airport operators. However, the real estate product mix must match the unique profile characteristics of each airport which include traffic profile, location, connectivity and real estate environment.”


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