Delivering on a new strategy and expansion
So, how did Isavia drive its programme with recovery and sustainability in mind during a pandemic?
The airport development team undertook detailed analysis and out-of-the-box strategising, looking at the risks of delivering the intensive construction works over the next ten years and how to integrate its sustainability strategy.
For this, it brought in Mace Group, global experts in aviation, to learn from other major airport programmes and created an integrated team culture combining local and international expertise. It also devised an ambitious sustainability action plan of being carbon neutral by 2030.
But the team was always mindful that Keflavik had to remain resilient while operating in a pandemic. Therefore, while it got its expansion plans underway, managed its logistics and supply chains, it also maintained operational flexibility. Short-term enhancement was prioritised, for example, to ensure that it would have the facilities to cope when demand returns and that it would be able to deliver over 35 percent increased capacity by 2024.
The role of Operational Readiness Activation and Transition (ORAT) methodology
At the heart of everything it did, Isavia combined ORAT methodology with design and user experience in mind to its expansion plans. This involved:
- Governance: Establishing the project structure, flushing out the scope excesses and putting project controls and governance in place.
- Stakeholders: Getting operational buy-in from the outset, focussing on operationally-critical issues and passenger centricity.
- Status reports: Providing unbiased, independent readiness progress reports (including both construction and stakeholders).
- Risk and issues: Identifying, tracking and managing ORAT risks and issues.
- Complex scheduling: Consolidating the build, manpower, trials, operations and transition. Undertaking training, doing soft launches without impacting the critical stages of the programme.
- Business objectives: Verifying business objectives and success criteria.
A logistics strategy has also been implemented across the programme. This will enable the operational side of the airport to navigate the restrictions and movement corridors early on, so they can plan their activities and operations around the disruption during the decade.
By taking this approach, says Rúnarsson, Isavia obtained:
- Clarity around design language, procurement strategy and governance.
- Programme controls that can be implemented without undertaking ‘open heart surgery’.
- A clear carbon reduction roadmap with deliverable targets over the next decade.
- An engaged team with the right people in the right roles to move forwards.
- An optimised development programme that has saved money, rather than spent money – adding value to the programme.
It’s been a matter of doing more with less, says Rúnarsson.
At the same time, however, Keflavik didn’t want to dilute the passenger experience as a result of the development programme. Passenger centricity has, therefore, been central to the programme’s kick off, with focus on people and processes to get the airport match-fit for the recovery.
And it’s paying off. Passenger numbers are bouncing back, with up to 84 percent recovery and, unlike other airports around the world, Keflavik is coping seamlessly with the returning demand.
Rúnarsson’s final word on what airports should be prioritising right now?:
“Airports need to move out of our aviation/ engineering operational mindsets of moving people from A to B. The airport of the future will be part of the passenger journey, part of the destination where they want to spend time and not just a place of transaction.”