At the point where there is a change in senior management or a significant change in operations, many organizations step back and review their competitiveness and chart a strategic course of action for the new team. The intent of this assessment would be to conduct an in-depth review of how the airport is operating in key categories and to validate whether the current way of doing business is optimal in light of industry “best practices”. Ensuring relative competitiveness is the goal. This analysis by Trillion Aviation applies to all contracts and resources that make up the airport’s financial and operational structure. As a neutral third party, Trillion Aviation specializes in investigating and implementing industry “best practices” business solutions in all areas of small hub and non-hub airport operations.
This competitive analysis task would result in the development of specific recommendations for consideration and implementation immediately or over a certain period of time. The focus is not only on contracts that are expiring, but also on current contracts during their term so that as opportunities to amend or renegotiate become available, the preferred business provisions of the contracts are ready to be adjusted to support the adopted mission. The analysis typically focuses on the following key concepts:
- Operational efficiency
- Creating the most competitive environment to attract and retain customers
- Establishing quantified deliverables
- Effectiveness of current practices in meeting stated goals
- Financial and/or operational “return on investment”
- Transition strategies, plans, investments, and costs
- Contingency planning
The recommended subject areas for this competitive analysis include the following:
- 1The overall operational structure, staffing, services provided, pricing/fees, and financial return
- Cross utilization and consolidation of resources to achieve maximum efficiency
- Organizational structure, reporting relationships, and succession planning
- Barriers to implementing desired alternatives
- Overall O&M costs, staffing, delivery of service alternatives, and cost-benefit analysis
- Parking revenue, return, technology options, and customer amenity programs (i.e., frequent parking program, corporate parking programs, etc.)
- All lease agreements
- Non-aeronautical revenue/development options, risks, investments, and rewards
- Airport insurance programs
- Utility consumption and billings
- Employee compensation and benefit programs (e.g., Self-insurance versus traditional program)
- Marketing and incentive options
This competitive analysis would be developed in conjunction with the Airport management team and would be used as a tool in a strategic planning workshop to be conducted at its conclusion.
Owner's Representative (OR)
- Role. Trillion Aviation provides Owner’s Representative (OR) duties on major airport capital projects that impact large groups of airport stakeholders, including the airlines, concessionaires, rental car and parking operators, and others. This role does not replace a contractor CM/PM – instead, we work directly on behalf of the airport client as a liaison between the airport and its key stakeholders to ensure complete project goals are met, stakeholder expectations are realized, and favorable life cycle costs are factored in to the final product.
- Need. Airports hire architectural, engineering, and construction firms to deliver large, complex capital terminal projects. The mission of these firms is to complete the project on time and on budget, thus yielding profitability and success to those entities. While the success of a project is also a goal of the airport operator, the final operational effectiveness and efficiency of the capital project is the purpose for commencing the project in the first place. Often, complex airport projects experience startup, operational, maintenance, or tenant use issues that could have been easily and economically addressed early in the capital program.
- Benefits. More than a value engineering exercise, significant cost savings can be found during each phase of the development process through proper identification of airport customer needs and strategic involvement and communication with all parties. This requires ongoing and active engagement in each step of project development to ensure that the original goals are met for the stakeholders and not subject to the varying missions of the project team.
- Example. At Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) Trillion Vice President Steve Wareham facilitated a series of airline input sessions in the fall of 2014 that helped the SEA Project Team identify $20M in savings to lower the projected costs of a new International Arrivals Facility (one example was the suggesting lower of ceiling heights saving curtainwall and structural support costs while preserving intuitive wayfinding and enhancing the natural lighting). Some of these savings have been reinvested back into the project through suggested scope improvements in the areas of vertical transportation, baggage systems, a luggage cart return system and a recheck area sized to ensure that “the system works efficiently” day one and into the future. This resulted in a return on investment of almost “40:1” over the life of the project.
- Timing. Getting an OR on board early in the program is essential to maximize savings all the way through activation of the project. Trillion Aviation has OR experience in over $3 Billion of airport projects through conception, design, construction and commissioning phases. We also often continue to assist airports with long-term operation, maintenance, and asset management of the facility once it is up and running. This background helps bring a true life cycle cost perspective to the table. Trillion also has unique experience in alternative project delivery methods (i.e. progressive design build).
- Resources. Depending on the size of the project, this role often does not require full-time on site personnel. Part time hours with regular communication and routinely scheduled on-site attendance can provide effective assistance at a reasonable cost that in most cases will be fully recovered by identified savings and system enhancements and efficiencies.
- Summary. Trillion can help airport staff, contractors and stakeholders better identify needs and to ensure stakeholder goals are met through early scope analysis that will enhance design, provide cohesive project coordination, and align the airport team goals with the long-term life cycle goals.
FAA Disability ADA Airport Assessment
Every U.S. airport certificated under Part 139 is required by the FAA to have an accessibility program that will satisfy not only the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but a number of additional administrative requirements (ADA coordinator, complaint procedures, public notice, self-assessment, contractual language in tenant and air carrier leases, etc.). There are also 16 specific structural and program components required and noted in various sections of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) that directly apply to airports. In addition, the 2009 update of the Air Carriers Access Act added a number of provisions that also relate specifically to airports.
Trillion Aviation can help airports evaluate their own accessibility program as well as prepare themselves for a potential FAA Disability Compliance review. Trillion Aviation Vice President Steve Wareham was the Director of the Minneapolis St-Paul International Airport (MSP) from 2004 – 2013 and led the effort to not only meet, but to exceed accessibility requirements of code, regulation and the law. MSP has been recognized as a leader among US airports for their accessibility measures, their relationships with community advocacy organizations and in fact is recognized as the top airport in the world for accessibility of information for the deaf community. MSP also experienced a Disability Access Compliance Review in November of 2010, and Steve created a ‘lessons learned’ document from that experience that was recently conducted at a medium hub US Airport and later successfully confirmed by a following FAA Disability Audit.
Security Assessment for Small and Mid-sized Airports:
U.S. Airports are required to have an up to date Airport Security Plan (ASP) that has been previously authorized by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). The Airport employee responsible for the implementation of this plan is known as an Airport Security Coordinator (ASC). Trillion recommends that these plans undergo periodic audits (especially after the departure of a long-time ASC) to make sure that procedures, facilities and airport policies are up to date and in compliance.
The regulations that govern these plans are found under the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1542. Trillion Vice President Steve Wareham has had first-hand experience in 1542 compliance issues during his 15 year tenure at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). Requirements of an ASP generally fall into the following categories and subcategories:
- Exclusive area agreements, tenant security programs, access to the sterile, secured and air operations areas (AOA) as well as compliance with security identification display areas (SIDA) requirements.
- Access control systems, fingerprint criminal history checks, other identification systems and employee training.
- Law enforcement support, personnel, records, training, exercises (annual tabletops etc.) and compliance with National Emergency Management (NIMs) programs.
In most cases, Airports have an effective ASP but often one that needs to be updated. Most Airports conduct regular annual tabletop drills with the TSA and Public Safety officials, and they effectively manage employee and tenant background checks, badging and training as well as secured and SIDA area access to 1542 standards. However non-compliance in any of these areas can lead to fines and invite the concern of policy makers, stakeholders (airlines, tenants), and the community. Trillion believes that a comprehensive security assessment can help an airport ensure that its plans, policies and procedures are in up to date and in alignment with the requirements of Part 1542.