By Moritz Bender
The impact of COVID-19 on operational planning will be so far reaching that airports need to start adapting now to a world of higher constraints, prevailing uncertainty and a new number one priority of airport safety. Let’s explore how airport operators can keep airports safe while achieving the same or better OPEX performance.
The demands of the “new normal”
Firstly, what will the “new normal” look like for airports after COVID? For the pre-pandemic airport, operations were based on assumptions of passenger behaviour, stable schedules, costs and growth alignments and optimised capacity. In COVID’s aftermath, however, the key descriptor for the “new normal” will be volatility, with airport operations running on lower OPEX and CAPEX costs, fewer resources and increased demands for airport health.
Post the pandemic, the key drivers for airport operations will be:
- Operations – balancing limited resources with predicted demand
- Optimisation with reduced capacity – potentially more flights and passengers, with the same assets and less resources
- Revenue recovery, versus former revenue maximisation, or reduced costs
- Touchless-centred journeys, versus previous passenger-centred journeys
- Safety and wellbeing first – where distancing and hygiene will be supported by occupancy management and automation